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    Default Ladies and Gentlemen: Front 3.

    US air strike on Somali village

    Published: 9 Jan 2007
    By: Jonathan Miller

    US air strikes on a southern Somali village are reported to have left many people dead.

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    Many people are reported to have been killed by the US warplanes in air strikes on southern Somalia.

    The attack, on the village of Hayo, is thought to have targeted al-Qaida members in the area.

    A Somali government source said today that the US believed a leading member of al-Qaida in east Africa was based in the area.

    The US Navy deployed off the Somali coast last week to prevent leaders of the country's Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) from fleeing the country.

    It followed the recapture from the UIC of Mogadishu and areas of southern Somalia at the end of 2006 by Somali government and Ethiopian troops.

    US intelligence officials say suspects in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania have used Somalia as a base. Somali Islamists deny any al-Qaida links.

    The United States said today that its first overt military action in Somalia since 1994 was based on "credible intelligence".

    The attacks were launched from the US base in neighbouring Djibouti.

    Gunships destroyed targets near Ras Kamboni in Southern Somalia and the village of Hayo, as well as two other locations.
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    More today:

    New Airstrikes Reported in Southern Somalia
    By VOA News
    09 January 2007

    Helicopter gunships were seen launching new attacks in southern Somalia Tuesday, close to the site of a U.S. airstrike against suspected al-Qaida hideouts late Monday.

    Witnesses were unsure if the new attacks were carried out by Ethiopian or American helicopters. There was no immediate word on casualties.

    U.S. and Somali officials have confirmed Monday's airstrike. An AC-130 gunship attacked at least two villages in Somalia's southern tip, near the Kenyan border. Witnesses and Somali government officials say many people were killed but the exact number was unknown.

    U.S. and Somali officials say the raids targeted several al-Qaida operatives allegedly involved in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. It was unclear if the al-Qaida members were among the casualties.

    Somali interim President Abdullahi Yusuf says the United States has the right to strike at terrorists involved in the embassy bombings.

    The attacks are the first acknowledged U.S. military action in Somalia since 1994, when U.S. troops left the country after 18 U.S. soldiers were killed during street fighting in Mogadishu.

    In another development, a U.S. aircraft carrier - the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower - has arrived off the Somali coast. Officials say its aircraft are flying intelligence-gathering missions over the country.

    Other American warships have been patrolling the coast to try to stop al-Qaida members and Islamist extremists from escaping by sea.

    Islamist forces fled to southern Somalia late last month after being driven out of the capital, Mogadishu, and other strongholds by Ethiopian and Somali government troops.

    The Islamists controlled much of southern Somalia for several months and tried to implement strict sharia law in the areas they ruled. The movement's leaders have denied any links with al-Qaida.

    Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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