First Published: 2007-01-10

US military continues Somalia raid amid protests

Blair says its Britain's duty to support US while UN condemns action that could worsen conflict in Somalia.


Middle East Online

By Ali Musa Abdi and Mustafa Haji Abdinur

Another US military intervention, not backed by the UN

MOGADISHU - Somali elders reported new US air strikes in the south of the country on Wednesday, as the UN Security Council prepared to discuss moves to send in African peacekeepers.

But there was still no word on whether the targets of the strikes -- several alleged Al-Qaeda operatives including some held responsible for the 1998 bombings of US embassies in east Africa -- had been killed.

"There were more air strikes by the United States and they shall continue until terrorists are eliminated from that part of Somalia," said Deputy Prime Minister Hussein Aidid.

The attacks were confirmed by a second senior Somali official who said areas "suspected of being hideouts for the Islamists and their foreign fighters" were hit, although a Pentagon official in Washington denied knowledge.

"Attacks occurred in villages in Badade and Afmadow districts twice in several locations," the official said on condition of anonymity, adding there was no confirmed information about the number and identity of casualties.

Local clan elders in Badade and Afmadow informed colleagues in the nearby port of Kismayo about the strikes, according to Kismayo resident Yusuf Ismail Aden.

The reports of fresh strikes near the Kenyan border came amid criticism of US military action in Somalia, which Washington says target Al-Qaeda operatives being sheltered by the country's defeated Islamist movement.

However, Somali Information Minister Ali Jama said he was unaware of any air operations other than those by Ethiopian forces who spearheaded the Somali government's offensive against Islamist fighters which began last month.

The United States carried out its first overt military action in Somalia since 1994 with a targetted air strike on Monday against suspected Al-Qaeda hideouts using an AC-130 gunship.

Somali elders said at least 19 people had died in the attack.

The Pentagon denied US involvement in at least two later helicopter strikes in the region reported by the Somali defense ministry.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and European Commission Vice President Franco Frattini on Wednesday backed the US campaign against Al-Qaeda, after the EU executive condemned the air strikes.

Blair said it was Britain's duty to support those fighting terrorists, as he called the extremists in Somalia a threat to the wider world while Frattini said: "The problem is not the Americans, but the terrorists."

US foe Iran condemned the strike as a violation of international law while the United Nations condemned action that could worsen conflict in the Horn of Africa.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon warned against the "new dimension this kind of action could introduce to the conflict" and the Security Council was due to meet Wednesday to discuss the situation and proposals for African peacekeepers.

Monday's was the first known US military strike in Somalia since the withdrawal of US forces there in 1994, and followed the rout of Islamist forces by Ethiopian and Somali government troops.

It was not immediately clear whether they had been killed by air strikes aimed at them and members of the Somali Islamic courts, but Jama said that many targets were hit.

"Many of them were killed in the last attack, but I do not have reports that Fazul was among them," he said. "That has to be confirmed by commanders on the ground."

Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi on Wednesday ordered defeated Islamist fighters to gather in camps across the country, but remained silent on the US raids.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire on an Ethiopian military vehicle in southern Mogadishu on Wednesday but missed and killed a female bystander instead, in the second such attack in two days, a witness said.

At least two people were killed in a rocket attack on a nearby facility housing Ethiopian troops late Tuesday and the woman was killed amid house-to-house searches for Islamists.

Somalia has been without a functioning central authority since 1991.

The Islamic courts had taken control of much of southern and central Somalia since seizing Mogadishu in June.

Ethiopia said Wednesday that it had effectively concluded its military intervention in Somalia but did not indicate when its troops would leave.


Syria army launches broad ground operation in Hama province

Israel-Palestinian unrest at risk of turning into religious war

EU to ease Turkey migrant burden on conditions

IS bombings will not deter Yemen govt from staying in Aden

Number of confirmed cholera cases rises to 1,200 in Iraq

Russia ‘ready’ to establish contacts with Free Syrian Army

Turkey arrests six people over 'minting coins for ISIS’

What does Iran nuclear deal mean for Syria?

US insists no military cooperation with Russia in Syria conflict

ISIS attack complicates task for Arab coalition in Yemen

Russia warships fire cruise missiles to back Syria army operation

Escape or temporary move: Erdogan son settles in Italy

New violence rocks Israel, West Bank

Mortar attack wounds Lebanon soldiers near border with Syria

Iraq forces recapture several areas around Ramadi

Saleh’s party ‘ready’ for UN-brokered Yemen peace

Erdogan’s vision of Syria’s future torn up by Putin

EU kicks off military operation against ‘mafia of the sea’

Russia air strikes targeting Chechen jihadists in Syria

Russia examining US proposals to coordinate Syria strikes

Russia hints at willingness on Syria 'deconfliction' with US

France may strip five terrorists of nationality

Israel demolition policy: Collective punishment in violation of international law

Violence in Yemen may trigger world's next great refugee crisis

EU to 'step up' work on resettlement of refugees from Turkey

Tunisia dismantles three ISIS recruitment cells

Russia not cooperating with US in Syria safety talks

Halal economy set to grow worldwide

‘Islamic State’ claims series of deadly attacks in Yemen

Recent unrest leaves Netanyahu with tough political choices

NATO accuses Russia of violating Turkey airspace

Unpaid teachers in Iraq Kurdistan go on strike to end ‘farce’

Erdogan warns Russia not to destroy friendship with Turkey

Arab coalition troops among 15 killed in Yemen attacks

Russia has created ‘de facto no-fly zone’ for Assad

Is pro-Sisi parliament a given?

NATO warns Russia airspace violations risk inflaming tensions

Turkey urges EU to do more to topple Assad

Iran threatens boycott Frankfurt Book Fair over Rushdie’s invite

Libya rival factions resume peace talks in Morocco

Opening of Baghdad’s Green Zone to public worries US

Yemen PM escapes unharmed in Aden rocket attack

UK top counter-terrorism official accuses social media of 'undermining' investigations

Lebanon lawmakers nearly come to blows in televised meeting

Gulf Arab forces take back strategic island in Yemen