WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US military fired at least one cruise missile into southern Somalia near the Kenyan border, targeting an Al-Qaeda leader, a US military official said Monday.
"On March 2, the US conducted an attack against a known Al-Qaeda terrorist in southern Somalia," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman confirmed.
Whitman would provide no details on the type of attack, the identity of the target, or the outcome.
But a military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said at least one cruise missile, possibly more, was launched at the target in southern Somalia.
"They're still trying to assess the damage, the effectiveness," the official said.
|At least one cruise missile was launched by the US military in Somalia|
US warships and submarines are armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, but the official would not say whether the strike was launched from a US warship and would not give the identity of the Al-Qaeda leader targeted in the strike.
A spokesman for the Islamist movement that is leading an insurgency against the Somali government said an Islamist-held town was bombed, and civilian targets were hit in an attack carried out by a US AC-130 gunship.
The US military official said he knew of no AC-130 gunships being used in the attack, only cruise missiles.
A town elder told AFP the raid, which he said occurred early Monday, appeared to have focused on three targets in the town. Elder Abdullahi Sheikh Duale said four civilians were killed.
It was unclear whether the United States coordinated the attack with the Somali government or other governments in the region.
"As we have repeatedly said, we will continue to pursue terrorist activities and their operations wherever we may find them," Whitman said.
"We do work very closely with our partners in the region in the conduct of our military operations," he said, reading from a prepared statement.
"We will continue to seek out identify, capture and if necessary kill terrorists where they plan their activities, carry out their operations, or seek safe harbor," he said.