Blast at militant house in Somalia kills 10 fighters, including from Pakistan, Afghan, India

By Mohamed Olad Hassan, AP
Saturday, August 21, 2010

Somalia blast kills fighters from Pakistan, India

MOGADISHU, Somalia — An explosion overnight at a house used by insurgents in the Somali capital killed at least 10 al-Shabab militants, including seven foreign fighters, the Somali Information Ministry said Saturday.

The statement said the blast, in a southern Mogadishu neighborhood, may have been caused by a premature car bomb explosion. Three Pakistanis, two Indians, an Afghan and an Algerian were among the dead, the statement said. The government cited “security sources” as the basis for its information.

Apart from the government statement there was no other verification of the casualties or circumstances.

Al-Shabab is Somalia’s most dangerous militant group, and officials say foreign fighters with experience in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts help train its troops.

The U.S. military has no presence in Somalia but U.S. surveillance aircraft are known to patrol Somali skies. Last September a U.S. strike against a convoy reportedly killed powerful insurgent Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan.

“We heard explosions within minutes of each other … but in the morning when we woke up no one could figure out the details because the whole neighborhood was cordoned off by dozens of heavily armed al-Shabab militants,” Abdulahi Ibrahim, a Mogadishu resident, said of the latest explosion.

A second resident, Osman Jibril, said he could see militants searching through the rubble of a leveled building.

Al-Shabab did not release any statements Saturday and calls to members of its group went unanswered.

In a separate incident Friday night a suspected insurgent died when a bomb he was trying to plant detonated, said a police spokesman, Abdulahi Hassan Barise.

“This is clear evidence that al-Shabab is planning death and destruction during the holy month of Ramadan. Terrorizing people has nothing to do with our peaceful Islam,” said Interior Minister Abdulkadir Ali Omar.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew the president. Al-Shabab is the country’s most powerful militia. Last month it carried out its first overseas attack, twin bombings in Uganda during the World Cup final that killed 76 people watching the game on TV.

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