Al-Shabaab attacks US base, EU convoy in Somalia

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 30.09.2019 15:52
Italian and Somali security forces are seen near armoured vehicles at the scene of an attack on an Italian military convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia Sept. 30, 2019. Reuters Photo
Italian and Somali security forces are seen near armoured vehicles at the scene of an attack on an Italian military convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia Sept. 30, 2019. (Reuters Photo)

Al-Qaida affiliated al-Shabaab militants on Monday stormed the Belidogle U.S. special forces military base roughly 100 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu using vehicle bombs followed by sporadic gunfire from fighters, according to Somalia's state media.

The attack was quickly thwarted by the U.S. forces and the Somali National Army (SNA) troops stationed at the base, it said.

"Today al-Shabaab terrorists conducted a failed attack against SNA base in Lower Shabelle region 70 miles (113 kilometers) North West of Mogadishu," said the state media.

"Although al-Shabaab expended many resources while carrying out this attack, it was ultimately unsuccessful due to the vigilance and quick action of SNA," it added.

"Soldiers stationed at the military base were able to avoid any injury," and successfully repel the attack in less than 10 minutes," said Somali National Television.

The exchange resulted in multiple al-Shabaab fighters losing their life," it added.

The militants used two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices stashed in trucks, a senior military official from Lower Shabelle region told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.

Following the attack, al-Shabaab released a statement claiming responsibility for the attack by its elite martyrdom forces.

The militant group claimed it had killed 100 soldiers and destroyed 5 military aircraft at the U.S. military base, which is the largest in the Horn of Africa country.

Belidogle is a major launching site for U.S. drone operations against al-Shabaab and Daesh terror group's Somalia branch.

In a separate incident on Monday, a security official said EU advisers training the Somali National Army were also attacked by a car bomb in Mogadishu.

The explosion missed the convoy of Italian peacekeepers but injured Somali civilians who were nearby, according to reports.

Italy's vice minister of foreign affairs, Emanuela Del Re, said on Twitter that Italian soldiers had been targeted in the attack.

"Very worried for the explosion at the passage of Italian soldiers #EUTM in Somalia," she said, referring to the European Union Training Mission in Somalia.

The attacks are the latest in a long line of bombing and assaults claimed by al-Shabaab.

The terrorists were driven out of Mogadishu by government forces backed by 20,000 African Union peacekeepers in 2011. However, they still carry out attacks including suicide bombings against government targets.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter