US troops take part in operation against Shebab insurgents in Somalia
WASHINGTON - US troops took part in a helicopter-borne special forces raid against Shebab insurgents in Somalia, a US official said Wednesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the operation overnight Tuesday to Wednesday as a "US partnered raid" with US troops accompanying Somali forces.
The raid came just days after a US warplanes and drones killed an estimated 130 Shebab fighters training for a major operation, according to the Pentagon.
Special forces operatives in two helicopters targeted the Shebab-controlled town of Awdhegele, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Somalia's capital Mogadishu, Somali government officials and a Shebab spokesman said.
"We have reports Shebab militants suffered casualties," local district commissioner Mohamed Aweys told reporters.
It was not immediately clear what the objective was, but helicopter raids in the past have been hostage rescue missions, such as a US commando operation in 2012 to free two aid workers who had been held for three months by the group.
Shebab has stepped up their attacks since the start of the year.