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US drone strikes kill dozens in Somalia

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Dozens of al-Shabab fighter have reportedly been killed after the US military used remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles to target their bases in southern Somalia.

The US drone attacks were carried out late on Wednesday in Dhoobley and Afmadow towns located near Kismayo, capital of the lower Juba region and a port city located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, said Somalia's Deputy Defense Minister Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig, quoted in a report by a Press TV correspondent.

The fresh US drone strike comes as the Americans carried out another drone attack in Somalia two weeks ago, The Washington Post reported.

The drone strike reportedly targeted two high-ranking members of al-Shabab militant group that allegedly had "direct ties" to what the US describes as 'anti-American cleric' Anwar Al Awlaki, a US-born citizen of Yemeni descent who is on the CIA's list of 'suspected terrorists' and reportedly hiding in Yemen.

In October 2009, al-Shabab fighters claimed they had shot down a US drone aircraft flying over Kismayo, a port town located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Drone attacks in Somalia make the lawless state the sixth country where the US military has used remote-controlled aircraft to conduct such lethal strikes.

The United States has now employed drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen to launch aerial bombings.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia remains one of the countries generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world.