MOGADISHU, Somalia — Islamist terrorists have attacked a U.S. military base and an Italian military convoy in the volatile East African nation of Somalia, military and police officials said on Monday.
The extremists launched a large-scale attack on the U.S. military base in the town of Baledogle, in Lower Shabelle region, about 70 miles northwest of the capital, Mogadishu, senior Somali military officer Mohamed Abdi told dpa.
The base functions as a training camp for Somalian soldiers, while the town’s airport is used to launch U.S. drone attacks against the al-Shabaab terrorist organization.
“Monday’s attack seems to be well-coordinated. The Baledogle attack started with a suicide car bombing, followed by heavily armed militants (coming) from different directions,” said Abdi.
Abdi was unable to confirm the number of casualties.
Somali army commander Abdirahman Sheikh Omar said in a statement broadcast on national television that soldiers killed more than 30 insurgents during the attack in Baledogle.
“The militants used at least four suicide car bombings, but all were unable to reach their intended targets,” Omar said.
The army was still in the process of collecting bodies from the site of the attack, indicating the death toll might rise, he added.
The al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack on the pro-insurgent radio station Andalus, saying it had killed “many soldiers,” both from Somalia and the United States.
In a separate attack, an Italian military convoy struck a roadside bomb in Mogadishu on Monday, causing a massive explosion that rocked parts of the capital.
Police officer Ahmed Bashane told dpa that no casualties had been reported so far, but six civilians were injured and several civilian vehicles were destroyed in the explosion.
Al-Shabaab launches regular attacks within the volatile East African nation, particularly targeting soldiers and politicians, as well as restaurants and hotels frequented by high-level officials and foreigners.