HUFFINGTON POST

Al Shabab Militants Stage Deadly Attacks In Somalia After Leader Killed

Somali police with full combat gear march at the police academy compound during the 71st anniversary of the police force, in
Somali police with full combat gear march at the police academy compound during the 71st anniversary of the police force, in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

By Feisal Omar and Abdi Sheik

MOGADISHU, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Somalian al Shabaab militants attacked a military base in the outskirts of the town of Baidoa on Friday morning, killing at least seven soldiers, a Somali military official said.

The attack came two days after the United States said it had killed the chief of al Shabaab's intelligence and security wing, Tahliil Abdishakur, in a drone strike. Al Shabaab seeks to topple the Western-backed Mogadishu government and impose its own strict version of Islamic law.

"Al Shabaab attacked our base unexpectedly, early in the morning today. We lost seven soldiers," Captain Ahmed Idow, a Somali military officer, told Reuters by telephone from Baidoa.

Idow said Somali soldiers killed three al Shabaab insurgents during the attack.

A spokesman for al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab said the group had briefly seized the base and killed more than 10 soldiers. Al Shabaab often cites a higher death toll than the number given by officials.

"We fiercely attacked the military base near Baidoa," Sheik Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's military operation spokesman, told Reuters.

In a separate incident in central Somalia on Friday, al Shabaab ambushed a government convoy carrying food aid, killing one soldier, according to Somali officials.

A spokesman for al Shabaab confirmed the group was behind the attack. (Writing by Edith Honan; editing by Ralph Boulton)