Air Strike Kills Seven al-Shabab Militants in Somalia

Posted February 24th, 2012 at 8:20 am (UTC-5)
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Witnesses say an airstrike has killed seven members of the al-Qaida-linked rebel group al-Shabab in southern Somalia.

The air attack occurred early Friday in a rebel-controlled area known as Kilometer 60, south of the capital, Mogadishu.

Somali officials say an al-Shabab commander was among those killed when a missile from an unidentified plane struck a vehicle.

A reporter for VOA says the dead include three Somalis and four foreigners.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack. U.S. forces have been known to conduct raids in Somalia, most recently in January when Navy commandos rescued two aid workers that were being held by pirates.

The strike comes one day after world leaders gathering in London pledged to help Somalia defeat al-Shabab and bring stability to the war-torn Horn of Africa country. The Somali government Friday called the conference a “great victory” for the Somali people.

Al-Shabab is fighting Somalia's weak transitional government in an attempt to impose its strict version of Islamic law on the country.

Al-Shabab rebels control large portions of southern and central Somalia, but have recently lost ground in the face of offensives by Ethiopian, Kenyan, and African Union troops.

Earlier this month, al-Qaida announced a formal alliance with al-Shabab, though the groups are thought to have had informal ties for several years.