Somalia: Western militants killed

Six Islamist fighters, including foreigners from Western nations, were killed in U.S. air strikes and battles with local forces in northern Somalia this weekend, a regional official said on Sunday.

"Yesterday we killed six terrorists from America, Britain, Sweden, Morocco, Pakistan and Yemen," said Mohamed Ali Yusuf, finance minister in the semi-autonomous Puntland administration.

"We came out victors and the fighting is over. Five Puntland troops were wounded," he told a news conference in Bossasso.

He gave no other details. Local forces on trucks fitted with heavy guns have blocked roads leading up to the mountain hideouts where American missiles crashed down on Friday. CNN said the attacks were aimed at an al Qaeda suspect.

A Somali jihadist group calling itself the Young Mujahideen Movement had earlier said it suffered no casualties in what it called "random" U.S. air strikes and said it killed 11 soldiers.

"American planes carried out random attacks without causing any losses among the mujahideen, praise to God," the group said in a Web posting. The statement could not immediately be verified but was on a site used by al Qaeda and other Islamists.

Speaking in Singapore, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates declined to comment on the strikes in rugged northern Somalia, saying it was possibly an operation still in progress.

CNN quoted unnamed sources as saying the attacks were the second in six months aimed at a suspect in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 240 people.

Source: CNN (English)

See also: Somalia: European fighters in custody

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