Al Shabaab says 3 US soldiers killed in Somalia attack

MOGADISHU – Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed U.S. and Somali especial forces after mortar attack on U.S. air base in Balidogle, some 110 km northwest of Somali capital Mogadishu.

The group says its bombing had killed 3 U .S. Army soldiers and 5 members of the Somali Special Forces in Balidogle attack earlier of Friday through its website.

Washington has not commented on this claim by Al Shabaab.

Balidogle was described as a training base for Somali especial commandos. The trainers were reported to be U.S. contractors working for Bancroft Global Development.

Last year, U.S. Defense Department awarded a more than $12 million contract for “emergency runway repairs” at Balidogle base in Somalia.

The new runway repairs appear to be stepping up the capabilities of the airfield there, and could be the harbinger of an expanding U.S. foot print in Somalia.

The U.S. military has increased its air and ground offensives against al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

Last year, one U.S. soldier was killed and four more were wounded during an attack by al-Shabaab militants that consisted of small-arms fire and mortars.

That attack occurred near Kismayo town, some 500km south of Somali capital Mogadishu.

The United States has carried out more than 15 airstrikes against al-Shabab militants in Somalia this year.