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Historic Somalia Visit Constrained to Airport

John Kerry becomes first secretary of state to visit African nation

(Newser) - Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced trip to Somalia today, becoming the first top US diplomat to ever visit the country. It marked a show of solidarity with a government trying to defeat al-Shabab and end decades of war. Kerry arrived at Mogadishu's airport shortly before noon... More »

Kenyan Airstrikes Hit al-Shabab for College Attack

Jets target militant positions in Somalia

(Newser) - Kenya launched airstrikes against Islamic militants in Somalia following last week's extremist attack on a Kenyan college that killed 148 people, a military spokesman said today. Warplanes attacked positions of al-Shabab yesterday afternoon and this morning in the Gedo region of Somalia, said Col. David Obonyo of the Kenyan... More »

Siege at Somali Hotel Leaves at Least 17 Dead

Security forces reclaim control after attack

(Newser) - Somali troops today took full control of a hotel that extremist gunmen stormed and occupied for more than 12 hours following a suicide bombing. At least 17 people died and dozens were wounded. The gunfire has stopped and security agents have accessed the whole building, said senior police officer Capt.... More »

Pentagon: Strike Killed Mall Attack Mastermind

Death deals 'major blow' to al-Shabab

(Newser) - The Pentagon has confirmed that a US airstrike last week killed Adan Garar, a senior member of the al-Shabab extremist group who allegedly helped plan the 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, that killed 67 people. The Pentagon, calling Garar "a major threat" and saying his death dealt... More »

Former DC-Area Cabbie on Terror Most-Wanted List

Suspect's brother is fighting no-fly list in court

(Newser) - Nobody knows a city as well as a taxi driver, which is why the FBI says it is very worried about the latest addition to its most-wanted terror list. Liban Haji Mohamed, 29, is a Somali-born US citizen who was driving a cab in Washington, DC's northern Virginia suburbs... More »

Pentagon: Airstrike Targets Somali Terror Leader

Attacked aimed at al-Shabab leader in Somalia, officials say

(Newser) - A US airstrike in Somalia targeted a senior leader of the al-Shabab extremist group, the Pentagon said today. It did not identify the leader or say whether the strike was successful. In a brief written statement, the Pentagon said the airstrike took place today in the vicinity of Saakow, Somalia.... More »

Al-Shabab Leader With Price on His Head Surrenders

Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi reportedly surrenders in Somalia

(Newser) - A leader with the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, who had a $3 million bounty on his head, surrendered in Somalia, a Somali intelligence official said today. Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi surrendered to Somali police in the Gedo region, said the intelligence officer, who insisted on anonymity because he is not... More »

Al-Shabab Attacks AU Base in Somalia

Gunfire, explosions heard in Mogadishu; militants targeted Christmas party

(Newser) - A Somali official says gunmen have attacked the African Union base in Mogadishu. Mohamed Abdi, a policeman at the capital's airport, which shares a fence with the AU base, said today there was an exchange of fire between the gunmen and troops. Somali terror group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for... More »

Kilns Recall 'Almost Criminal' US History

Utah's old charcoal kilns led to wide deforestation

(Newser) - In Utah's backcountry, you're liable to see wide stretches of open space populated by little more than old brick huts. Their purpose, once essential to the state's economic life, came to be considered "almost like a criminal activity," an expert tells the Deseret News . In... More »

Pirates Free American Held for 2 Years

Journalist Michael Scott Moore was kidnapped while researching piracy

(Newser) - A 45-year-old journalist who was kidnapped by Somali pirates more than two years ago has been freed, according to his family and a Somali official cited by CNN . Michael Scott Moore, who holds both US and German citizenship and was in Somalia researching a book on piracy, is said by... More »

Al-Shabab Militants Have New Leader After US Airstrike

Attack killed former spiritual leader Ahmed Abdi Godane

(Newser) - Somalian Islamic extremist rebels al-Shabab named Abu Ubeid Ahmed Omar to be their new leader following the killing of the previous leader by a US airstrike , said a commander of the group. The Somali militants unanimously selected Omar today at a meeting in an undisclosed location in Somalia, said rebel... More »

US Unleashed 'Earthquake' Strike on al-Shabab

Target may have been Somali militants' 'spiritual leader'

(Newser) - The US says it carried out an operation against Islamic extremists in Somalia yesterday, but the military hasn't released other details of the strike on the al-Shabab network. "We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate," a Pentagon... More »

Militants Storm Presidential Palace in Somalia

al-Shabab has vowed to step up attacks in Mogadishu

(Newser) - Militants have stormed the presidential palace in Mogadishu, though the BBC reports that Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is not there today. A police official said the attack started when a car bomb exploded outside the presidential complex. Gunmen then entered the palace, their entry apparently made easier because many... More »

US Has Secretly Had Troops in Somalia Since 2007

Deployment was hushed up for security reasons

(Newser) - The trainers the US sent to Somalia last fall weren't really the first American troops in the country since the 1993 Black Hawk Down debacle, officials have revealed. A deployment of around 120 troops on the ground has been in place in the country since 2007 to help fight... More »

Militants Kill Kenyan Men, Order Women to Watch

Somali group blamed for rampage in coastal town

(Newser) - Dozens of extremists wielding automatic weapons attacked a small Kenyan coastal town for hours, assaulting the police station, setting two hotels on fire, and spraying bullets into the street. At least 48 people were killed, officials said. The assault in Mpeketoni began around 8pm local time last night, as residents... More »

Teen Stowaway's Mom: His Dad Told Him I Was Dead

She says Yahya Abdi only recently learned she was alive

(Newser) - The teen stowaway who survived a five-hour flight in the wheel well of a Boeing 767 was trying to get to Somalia to see his family —including his mother, who tells Voice of America and the Daily Mail that the boy, Yahya Abdi, had only recently learned she was... More »

Teen Stowaway's Intended Destination: Somalia

Dad says he missed relatives, struggled in school

(Newser) - The teenage stowaway who miraculously survived a five-hour flight in the wheel well of a Boeing 767 was trying to get to his native Somalia, not Hawaii, his father says. The 15-year-old, who moved to the US as a refugee with his father and stepmother four years ago, was struggling... More »

Suicide Bomber Misfires While Parking, Kills Only Himself

No one else injured in Mogadishu

(Newser) - A suicide car bomber accidentally detonated his explosives near a popular hotel in the Somali capital and managed to kill only himself, say police. The bomber appeared to have prematurely detonated his explosives-laden car today as he tried to park near the Mogadishu hotel. No others were hurt or killed... More »

US Drone Strike Takes Out Somali Militant Commander

'Dangerous' al-Shabab leader killed by missile

(Newser) - A missile fired from an American drone killed a militant commander in Somalia, a military official tells Reuters . Another militant commander confirmed to the AP that the strike in a southern village had killed Sahal Iskudhuq—who is believed to be close to al-Shabab's top leader—as well as... More »

US Military in Somalia for First Time Since 'Black Hawk Down'

About 2 dozen trainers, advisers in Mogadishu: Washington Post

(Newser) - It may not qualify as "boots on the ground," but the Washington Post sees it as a milestone nonetheless. It reports that the US military has sent about two dozen "trainers and advisers" to Somalia to help the fight against the al-Shabab militia , marking the first return... More »

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