Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamist group on Sunday attacked a base in Kenya’s Lamu county used by both U.S. and Kenyan forces and it published pictures of masked militants standing next to aircraft in flames, though the images could not be immediately verified.
The attack began before dawn and was still underway four hours later, witnesses and military sources told Reuters.
There were no immediate reports of Kenyan or U.S. casualties, but the Kenyan military said four attackers had been killed.
“Seven aircraft and three military vehicles were destroyed in the attack,” al Shabaab said in a statement that included photos showing aircraft on fire with fighters standing nearby.
The al Qaeda-affiliated jihadist group claimed responsibility for the assault in Lamu county on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast, which has long been a major tourist destination but vulnerable to militant violence given its proximity to Somalia.
Kenyan military spokesman Colonel Paul Njuguna said at least four of the attacking militants were killed.
In a tweet, the U.S. Africa Command confirmed an attack on the Manda Bay Airfield, said it was monitoring the situation and would provide an update “as facts and details emerge”.
Kenya sent troops into Somalia in 2011 after a spate of cross-border attacks and kidnappings.
They were later absorbed into an African Union peacekeeping force, now 21,000-strong, that supports the shaky, Western-backed Somali government against which al Shabaab has waged a protracted insurgency.
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