Al-Shabab militants launched an attack on an airbase used by the U.S. military supporting Somali forces, security sources said.
The militants detonated explosions from two car bombs at Ballidogle airport in Lower Shabelle region, about 90 kilometers west of Mogadishu. A local source reported hearing two explosions in the vicinity of the airport.
Al-Shabab issued a statement claiming responsibility for “storming” the base.
“After breaching the perimeters of the heavily fortified base, the Mujahideen stormed the military complex, engaging the crusaders in an intense firefight,” the statement said. “The battle is still ongoing”.
Somali national army radio, in a twitter post, said the militants detonated car bombs at the outer perimeter of the base. It said the Somali soldiers and their U.S. partners “repelled” the attack.
The U.S. ambassador to Somalia condemned the attack and praised Somali security forces for their actions. “We commend the Somali security forces who repelled the attack against the Somali National Army [SNA] Base in Baledogle, Lower Shabelle region,” a statement said.
The Associated Press reports the U.S. uses the base to launch drone attacks on al-Shabab targets.
Meanwhile, a car bomb exploded in Mogadishu, the capital, targeting a military convoy near the Jaalle Siyad military academy. Witnesses said the suicide car bomb detonated near the academy, which is used for training Somali security forces by the international forces, including the European Union.
Reuters reports the explosion missed European Union peacekeepers, but injured Somali civilians.