WASHINGTON – U.S. military forces targeted the Islamic extremist al-Shabab network in an operation Monday in Somalia, the Pentagon said.
Spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the U.S. was assessing the results and would provide more information when appropriate. No further details were available.
The U.S. action comes after Somalia’s government forces regained control of a high-security prison in the capital that was attacked Sunday by seven heavily armed suspected Islamic militants who attempted to free other extremists held there. The Pentagon statement did not indicate whether the U.S. action was related to the prison attack.
Somali officials said all attackers, three government soldiers and two civilians were killed. Mogadishu’s Godka Jilacow prison is an interrogation center for Somalia’s intelligence agency, and many suspected militants are believed to be held in underground cells there.
The Somali rebel group al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack that shattered a period of calm in Mogadishu after two decades of chaotic violence. The attack started when a suicide car bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the gate of the prison, followed by gunmen who fought their way into the prison.
It was al-Shabab gunmen who attacked the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, with guns and grenades last September, killing at least 67 people.