Twin attack targets US military base & Italian convoy in Somalia
A US base and an Italian military convoy have come under attack in Somalia where foreign troops are stationed to support the government. In both cases the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility.
The Baledogle US special forces base, located some 100 kilometers from the country’s capital, Mogadishu, and used to train local commandos, was attacked on Monday. The militants used two car bombs to breach the facility’s perimeter and then proceeded to attack it with small arms.
While Al-Shabaab itself claimed it managed to penetrate the perimeter of the base, and storm the military complex “engaging the crusaders in an intense firefight,” local authorities denied that. According to police, both car bombs failed to reach the base and detonated early.
The US military did not provide many details on the attack, saying it was assessing the situation and working to “confirm details of the incident.” No immediate reports on potential casualties among the US or local forces emerged.
Later the day, the US Africa Command confirmed that no US or partner soldiers were injured during the attack on the base. In response to Al Shabaab’s assault, the US forces conducted two airstrikes against the militants, killing ten of them and destroying a vehicle.
In a separate incident, an Italian military convoy was targeted with a roadside bomb in Mogadishu. The Italian military is present in the country as a part of the EU mission to train the forces of the UN-backed Somali government.
Photos from the scene suggest that at least one Italian armored car was damaged in the blast, while nearby buildings sustained heavy damage. Still, no injuries among the Italian servicemen were reported, the country’s defense ministry said.
The twin attack follows a string of other major incidents, involving the Al-Shabaab group, which has been waging insurgency in the country since the mid-2000s. On September 22, it attacked and looted a military base in El Salini, some 60km southwest of Mogadishu. The militants used a suicide bomber to breach the perimeter and then stormed it on foot.
A week before that, the group claimed it attacked Burundian peacekeepers, killing at least 14 servicemen. The African Union, which oversees the peacekeeping mission, however, acknowledged deaths of only three soldiers.
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