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US forces acting in self
defense called in an airstrike on al Shabaab militants in the
southern Somalia province of Lower Juba, killing an estimated 18
Islamist extremists, US Africa Command said.

Somali government troops accompanying the US unit killed
two other fighters of the al Qaeda-linked group with small arms
fire during the clash that took place on Friday, it said.

“The US airstrike was conducted against militants after
US and partner forces came under attack,” US Africa Command
said in a statement on Saturday. “We currently assess no civilians were
injured or killed.”

The clash took place about 30 miles (50 km) northwest of the
Lower Juba port city of Kismayo.

US forces are in Somalia supporting a UN-backed
government against al Shabaab, an Islamist extremist group that
lost control of most of the country’s towns and cities after
withdrawing from the capital Mogadishu in 2011.

Meanwhile, a person died and another
was injured in two car bombs that exploded in the heart of the
Somali capital on Saturday and the Islamist group al Shabaab
claimed responsibility for the attacks.

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The bombs detonated in two different cars near a main road
in the centre of the city. Al Shabaab frequently carries out
bombings in Mogadishu and other parts of the Horn of Africa
country.

“Two people were injured in the two car bombs. One of them
died of the wounds,” said Major Mohamed Hussein, a police
officer.

Al Shabaab told Reuters they had planted the car bombs and
that they were targeting a police official but that he had
escaped.

Another police officer, Ahmed Nur, said one of the cars was
parked and had nobody in it, while the second was moving and the
two people inside it had been injured. One of the injured is the
one who later died.

On Friday, at least three people were killed in separate
attacks in Mogadishu, including a female university student shot
dead in her class by two men armed with pistols.

Al Shabaab is fighting to topple Somalia‘s Western-backed
central government and establish its own rule based on its own
strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

The group also wants to drive African Union (AU)-mandated
AMISOM peacekeepers out of the country.

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