Somali militants plan major attacks on western targets in Somalia – sources

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The Al-Qaeda linked militant group in Somalia is planning to launch major attacks targeting western interests in retaliation for deadly air raids by the United States that killed fighters and leaders of the group in the horn of Africa nation in recent months, sources said Thursday.

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At least 150 Al Shabab fighters were killed in a US drone strike in Somalia in March. The Pentagon said the attack targeted a group of fighters who were preparing to leave a training camp and posed an “imminent threat” to American and African forces.

Several leaders of the group were also killed in similar attacks by US forces in Somalia.

Quoting anonymous security sources, The Voice of America’s Somali Service reported the militant group marked Mogadishu airport, government institutions and hotels used by foreigners and diplomats as their top targets.

The development comes two days after the United States government warned its citizens from travelling to Somalia including the northern Somalia semiautonomous state of Puntland and its neighboring breakaway republic of Somaliland that enjoyed stability during Somalia’s two decades-old conflict, citing an ongoing security threat.

In recent months, the United States government which killed dozens of Al Shabab leaders including the group’s spiritual leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in airstrikes in Somalia in recent years heightened pressure on the group which it designated as a terrorist group.

In addition, Somali and American commandos in helicopters also carried out several joint commando raids on rebel-held towns in southern Somalia.

US officials also confirmed the involvement by US forces in the raid; however, they declined to give further details about the raids.