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Attacks on US base and European convoy in Somalia (sources)

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The radical Islamic group al Shabaab on Monday attacked a US air base and a European Union convoy of military advisers in two separate attacks in Somalia, witnesses and a security official told AFP.

The insurgents targeted the US base in Bledogle, about 110 kilometers northwest of the capital Mogadishu, with explosives before opening fire on the site.

“In the early hours of Monday morning, a unit of elite soldiers carried out a bold raid on the US military base” in Baledogle, the statement said.

“After penetrating the perimeter of the heavily fortified base, the Mujahideen stormed the military compound and engaged the Crusaders in a heavy exchange of fire.”

“There were two big explosions, one is stronger than the second. There was also a heavy exchange of fire after the blasts, but we don’t know the details,” witness Mohammed Aden told AFP by telephone.

In a separate attack on Monday, a Somali security official confirmed that European military advisers training the Somali National Army were attacked by a car bomb in Mogadishu.

“A car bomb targeted European military advisers on the industrial road,” said Somali officer Omar Abikar. “A car loaded with explosives hit a convoy and there were casualties.”

Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Emmanuela Del Rey wrote on Twitter that the attack targeted Italian soldiers.

“I am worried about the explosion that occurred as Italian soldiers passed through Somalia,” she said, who are taking part in the EU training mission in the impoverished and troubled African country.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attacks, according to the US website SITE, which monitors jihadist activities around the world.

Al Shabaab gunmen were expelled in 2011 from Mogadishu before losing the majority of the areas they controlled. But they are still deployed in many rural areas and launching attacks and suicide attacks in the capital and elsewhere.

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