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Update 2: Three Americans have been confirmed as killed and two injured during the terrorist attack.
One U.S. service member and two American Department of Defense contractors were killed in a terror attack on a military base in Kenya that houses some U.S. military personnel. The Somali terror group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack that Kenyan authorities said had been repelled with four militants killed in the fighting.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our teammates who lost their lives today,” U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command, said in a statement Sunday afternoon. “As we honor their sacrifice, let’s also harden our resolve. Alongside our African and international partners, we will pursue those responsible for this attack and al-Shabaab who seeks to harm Americans and U.S. interests.”
Update 1: Confirmed
— US AFRICOM (@USAfricaCommand) January 5, 2020
An attack on a joint Kenyan-American military base by a radical Islamic militant group was unsuccessful as forces repelled the attackers during an early morning raid Sunday. Reports indicate at least four attackers were killed. No casualties have been reported of U.S. military forces, other than a questionable press release issued by the attackers.
Al-Shabaab, an African terrorist group affiliated with al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack and claim to have destroyed some U.S. military equipment at Camp Simba near the Somalian border. There has been no confirmation from the Pentagon yet, but locals are reporting evidence of the attack.
“There was an attack but they have been repulsed,” Lamu Commissioner Irungu Macharia told AFP.
He said the attack took place before dawn at the base known as Camp Simba, and that “a security operation is ongoing”, but did not indicate if there had been casualties.
“We are not sure if there are still remnants within,” he said.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying they had “successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of part of the base.”
The group said there had been both Kenyan and American casualties, however this could not be immediately verified.
The base is shared by Kenyans and Americans. It was transitioned from being a tactical temporary installation to a permanent one in August to contend with Islamic terrorist groups, particularly those coming across the border from Somalia.
Al-Shabaab militants have launched an early morning attack on Camp Simba, a Kenyan military base in Lamu County. According to Al Shabaab, they destroyed US military aircraft and vehicles in the attack. pic.twitter.com/pz0vjIv6jf
— Somali News Updates (@Somaliweyn_) January 5, 2020
BREAKING: Reports from Kenya say Al-Shabaab militants have launched a dawn attack on Kenya military base in Lamu County. A suicide car bomb reportedly breached the entry to Camp Simba, Manda Bay. The explosion sent plume of dark smoke into the sky, photos purportedly show. pic.twitter.com/OxL8H1Qvgs
— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) January 5, 2020
In press release purportedly from Al-Shabaab, group claims to have inflicted "severe casualties" on American & Kenyan troops and destroyed U.S. military aircraft and vehicles. Have seen no major news outlet or government confirm this, and no credible video/photo evidence so far. https://t.co/UhZbpBMCOf
— Steve Lookner (@lookner) January 5, 2020
KDF responding to an attack by al-Shabaab insurgents on the US-Kenya military base in Manda Bay, Lamu County. They have attacked the airstrip used mostly by US army & managed to burn an aircraft. Video courtesy pic.twitter.com/q17F9W671B
— Ali 'Mwamvita' Manzu (@Ali_Manzu) January 5, 2020
The militants claimed the attack was not connected to “anything happening in the Middle East,” referring to the conflict between Iran and the United States following the killing of Quds leader Qasem Soleimani. Tensions with Iran have sparked protests.
Al-Shabaab picked the wrong time to try to raid a U.S. base. With the heightened levels of security for Americans abroad, it will be difficult for any opposing force to come out of any attacks alive.
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