Military strike against foreign fighters reported in southern Somali town
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) - International military forces carried out a pre-dawn strike on Saturday against foreign fighters in the same southern Somalia village where United States Navy Seals four years ago killed a most-wanted Al-Qaeda operative, officials said.
The strike was carried out in the town of Barawe in the hours before morning prayers against what one official said were "high-profile" targets. The strike comes exactly two weeks after al-Shabab militants attacked Nairobi's Westgate Mall, a four-day terrorist assault that killed at least 67 people in neighboring Kenya.
The leader of al-Shabab, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, also known as Ahmed Godane, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was in retaliation for Kenya's military deployment inside Somalia. In Kenya, a military spokesman released the names of four men implicated in the mall attack.
A resident of Barawe - a seaside town 240km south of Mogadishu - said by telephone that heavy gunfire woke up residents before dawn prayers. An al-Shabab fighter who gave his name as Abu Mohamed said "foreign" soldiers attacked a house, prompting militants to rush to the scene to capture a soldier. Mohamed said that effort was not successful.