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Kenya's airstrike in Somalia kills at least 100 Al-Shabaab fighters

(Xinhua)

12:11, February 05, 2012

NAIROBI, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- At least 100 fighters including eight top Al-Shabaab commanders have been killed in the latest battle in a town northeast of Badhade, Somalia, officials said on Friday.

Military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the Kenyan helicopter gunships on Friday hit at Al-Shabaab positions, which included 200 Al-Shabaab fighters, one of the largest concentrations of the Al-Shabaab fighters, killing at least 100 fighters and destroying nine technicals and nine trucks used by the fighters.

He said the Kenyan troops advanced into the town of Badhade and Hayo in Southern Somalia, boosting their chances for a successful battle for the port of Kismayu and the town of Afmadhow, a provincial capital and a key hub of the Al-Shabaab, which is one of the main ultimate targets of the operation.

"The operation is likely to shape the future of the operation," Major Chirchir said in his official Twitter account, minutes after the air-strikes. The military said the Al-Shabaab fighters were concentrated in the town of Dalayat, from where its top commanders planned a counter attack on the town of Badhade.

Chirchir said, "Al-Shabaab strength (was) estimated at over 200. The KDF (Kenya Defense Forces) gunships destroyed Al-Shabaab at Dalayat," a key transit point from the sea frequently used by the group to re-stock its military supplies.

The KDF military officials also said other attacks against the Al-Shabaab locations took place at Badhade at around 16:45 East African time and a battle damage assessment was still ongoing.

Kenyan troops have been on the ground in Somalia since Oct. 16, 2011 against the Al-Shabaab militants, which have been mounting armed incursions into Kenya.

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