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Kenya Pounds Al-Shabab Bases in Somalia

Kenyan forces carried out airstrikes against al-Shabab targets in neighboring Somalia, days after the militants killed 148 people in an attack at a university in southern Kenya.

Warplanes hit two camps in the Gedo region of southern Somalia on Sunday.  There was no immediate report on possible casualties or damage from the strikes.

 

Al-Shabab has carried out multiple attacks in Kenya in recent years, and warned that more would come unless the government withdraws the troops who are taking part in a multi-nation African force to combat the militants in Somalia.

 

Security forces battled the militants for 15 hours and rescued more than 500 students before killing the attackers.

 

Several Kenyan newspapers were critical of what they described as a slow response by the government.  The French news agency reported that it took special forces seven hours to arrive at the site.

 

Kenya’s Interior Ministry said Abdirahim Abdullahi, one of four attackers killed during Thursday’s assault, is the son of a Kenyan government official.

Somalia president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told VOA Somali Service on Sunday that Somalia-based al-Shabab is a regional enemy that needs to be confronted.   He says al-Shabab’s aim to target mostly Christians in Kenya is intended to separate Muslims and Christians, but he says that objective has failed as Kenyans understand the militants’ tactics.

 

President Mohamud says al-Shabab “has no dignity” and can only attack “vulnerable targets.”  He told VOA there is nowhere in Islam that says“kill non-Muslims.”

 

U.S. President Barack Obama, whose father was from Kenya, expressed “horror and sadness” over the attack. The White House Obama has reiterated his plan to visit Nairobi in July.

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