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.

 

US says will continue to consider Nusra security threat

Palestinian 'long shot' legal fight over 1917 British declaration

French PM mulls temporary ban on foreign-funded mosques

Turkey widens post-coup purge to businessmen

Egypt education system under spotlight

'Traitor's graveyard' for coup plotters in Turkey

Government team says leaving UN-backed Yemen talks

Turkey says army to keep up fight against ISIS

UN says it wants control of Aleppo humanitarian corridors

EU enlargement chief warns Turkey to respect rule of law

Calls grow for Syria regime to end Aleppo siege

IS executes 24 civilians after seizing Syria village

Syria rebels prevent civilians from leaving Aleppo

Egypt former anti-graft head gets jail term for exaggeration

Rebels form 'supreme council' to run war-torn Yemen

France, Britain call for end to Aleppo siege

Al-Qaeda OKs breaking ties with Syria affiliate

Croatia arrests Kurdish man wanted by Turkey

Tunisian army kills two 'terrorists'

Turkey sees over 40% drop in visitors

Assad offers amnesty to Syria rebels if they surrender

Study says lack of exercise cost world $67.5 billion

Second France church attacker formally identified

Egypt Christians hope for end to discrimination with new law

HRW accuses Syria, Russia of using banned cluster munitions

Post-coup Turkey continues military shake-up

Clinton camp accuses Trump of inviting foreign spying

Morocco arrests 52 suspects planning to set up ISIS branch

Coalition opens formal investigation into Syria civilian deaths

Pope to journalists: 'World at war', but not a religious war

Turkey warns post-coup crackdown ‘not completed yet’

Egypt top Muslim cleric denounces murder of French priest

Russia denies meddling in US election campaign

Syria regime kills 16 civilians in Aleppo assault

Killer of France priest was 'Syria obsessed time-bomb'

Netanyahu defends war record after protest by parents of dead soldiers

44 dead in double bomb blast in Syria Kurdish city

Marketplace bomb in Yemen kills 7

Kuwait jails Shiite MP for insulting Arab Gulf states

Iran presidential election set for May 2017

ISIS claims deadly bombing in Syria Kurdish city

Bahrain tries prominent Shiite cleric

Turkey planning anti-Gulen army purge before coup

Turkey issues more arrest warrants for journalists

Israeli raid kills Hamas member said to be behind attack