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U.S. launches fresh attack in Somalia

2007-01-10 07:48:58


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    NAIROBI, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The United States launched a fresh air strike on Tuesday in southern Somalia, close to the place where the U.S. military struck against targets suspected of al-Qaeda operations a day earlier, reports reaching here said.

    The attacks were launched by at least two helicopters. There were no reports about casualties now.

    Somali government officials confirmed on Tuesday that The United States launched an air strike against an suspected al-Qaeda cell in a village of southern Somalia late on Monday.

    Officials of the transitional government said that U.S. AC-130 gunship, operated by the Special Operations Command, flew from its base in Djibouti to the southern tip of Somalia, where the al-Qaeda suspects were believed to have fled from the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

    "We can confirm that US gunships raided targets in a village in southern Somalia late on Monday," government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari said by telephone from Baidoa where the transitional government is based.

    "The target was a small village called Badel. And the gunship did hit the exact target so the operation was successful," Dinari said.


    UN chief expresses concern over US airstrikes in Somalia

    UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern that airstrikes launched by the United States in Somalia over the weekend may result in an escalation of hostilities, his spokeswoman Michele Montas said on Tuesday.

    The UN chief is also concerned about the impact on civilians in southern Somalia and regrets the reported loss of civilian lives, Montas told a press briefing.

    Five to 10 people were killed in the airstrikes on a target "believed to be associated with al-Qaida," AP reported, quoting an unidentified U.S. intelligence official.

    Montas said the UN is planning to send an assessment team to the Kenya-Somalia border on Thursday to look into the possibility of resuming humanitarian deliveries into Somalia.

    At least 4,700 internally displaced persons at the border are in critical need of food, shelter, medicine and basic supplies, Montas said, quoting the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

    Humanitarian operations were suspended in the area and international staff evacuated when the recent fighting erupted last month.

    Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman confirmed on Tuesday that a USAir Force AC-130 on Sunday targeted what was believed to be "principal al-Qaida leadership" in southern Somalia but declined to discuss damage assessments.

    U.S. voices grave concern over terrorists in Somalia

    WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- The United States is very much concerned over the presence of al-Qaida terrorists in Somalia, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Tuesday.

    "Very clearly, the U.S. government has had a concern that there are terrorists and al-Qaida affiliated terrorists that were in Somalia. We have a great interest in seeing that those individuals not be able to flee to other locations," McCormack told reporters.

    Somalia, which has been riven by factional fighting and has not had a functioning national government since Muhammad Siad Barre's regime was toppled in 1991, must not to become a safe haven for terrorists, he noted.

    The U.S. forces, based in Djibouti, began last Wednesday patrolling the seas off Somalia in a bid to capture some leaders of the Islamic Courts movement, including suspected al-Qaida agents wanted for the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa, the State Department said.

    The United States set up the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa in 2002 in Djibouti, a major hub for U.S. counter-terrorism training and operations as well as humanitarian efforts.



This March 2002 US Air Force (USAF) handout photo shows an Air Force AC-130 gunship on a training exercise. The United States launched air strikes on suspected Al-Qaeda targets in southern Somalia on Tuesday. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

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