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Over 150 killed in drone strike in Somalia - US officials

The Pentagon has said that it has hit an al-Sheebab training camp where a “large-scale” attack was being planned.

A file photograph of a US army drone in 2011
A file photograph of a US army drone in 2011
Image: AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

THE PENTAGON HAS claimed to have killed 150 al-Sheebab fighters with a drone strike in Somalia over the weekend.

The US has said that more than 10 fighters who were planning a “large-scale” attack were killed.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the strike occurred sometime on Saturday (US time) on a camp called Raso, about 195 kilometers north of Mogadishu.

“The fighters were there training and were training for a large-scale attack. We know they were going to be departing the camp and they posed an imminent threat to US and (African Union) forces,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said.

“Initial assessments are that more than 150 terrorist fighters were eliminated,” he added.

Davis said the group had neared the completion of specialist training to conduct “offensive operations,” but he did not give any details about the assault the fighters were allegedly planning.

“Their removal will degrade al-Shebab’s ability to meet the group’s objectives in Somalia, which includes recruiting new members, establishing bases and planning attacks on US and AMISON (African Union Mission to Somalia) forces there,” he said.

The training camp had been under surveillance for some time ahead of the  drone strike.

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“There was a sense that the operational phase was about to happen,” Davis said.

Al-Qaeda aligned Shebab jihadists have claimed responsiblity for a string of recent attacks including a twin bombing at a busy restaurant in the Somali city of Baidoa last month.

- © AFP, 2016

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