US air strike kills more than 150 al-Shabaab militants in Somalia

US says fighters from the al Qaeda-linked Islamic terror outfit were planning a "large-scale" attack.

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US strike on al shabaab kills 150
Residents gather to view the damage at the scene of a car bomb attack near Somali Youth League Hotel, known as SYL hotel, in Hamarweyne district in Mogadishu, Somalia February 27, 2016. At least nine people were killed when fighters from Somali Islamist group al Shabaab set off a car bomb at the gate of a popular park and near the hotel in the capital, sending a plume of smoke above the coastal city

The Pentagon has said an air strike at an al-Shabaab training camp in Somalia has killed more than 150 militants.

Fighters from the al Qaeda-linked Islamic terror outfit were planning a "large-scale" attack, the US said. The air strikes targeted a training camp in Raso, about 120 miles (195km) north of the capital Mogadishu.

"We know they were going to be departing the camp and they posed an imminent threat to US and [African Union] forces," Pentagon spokesman Captain Davis said.

"Initial assessments are that more than 150 terrorist fighters were eliminated," Davis added.

The strike was carried out by both drones and manned aircraft. The spokesman said the al-Qaeda affiliate group, which has carried out sophisticated terror attacks in Somlaia in a bid to establish their rule in the county, had completed training to conduct "offensive operations".

However, he did not disclose any specific information about what their target might have been.

Meanwhile, Somalian authorities have said they had passed on intelligence details about the camp to the US.

"There has to be intelligence on the ground for this to happen. Our intelligence had helped," Foreign Minister Abdusalam Omer told Reuters.

"It's a big victory for fighting terrorism. Instead of al Shabaab attacking civilians, it was a military target was hit and there was a high success rate," the minister added.

Al-Shabaab, which means 'The Youth', wants to establish a shariah-based rule in Somalia and have conducted deadly attacks Kenya and Uganda as well.

The clan-based insurgent group had taken over most of southern Somalia in 2006. They were responsible for several high-profile attacks on western targets in the past, including the September 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi and an attack on a Djibouti restaurant in May 2014.

This article was first published on March 8, 2016