U.S. Target Al Qaeda Terrorist in Somalia

Planes fired three missiles at a Somali town held by Islamic extremists early Monday, destroying a home and seriously injuring eight people, including four children, residents and police said.

The missiles that struck Dobley, some four miles from the Kenyan border, were from military aircraft, but it was not clear from which country they originated, witnesses said. Remnants of an Islamic force that had once ruled much of southern Somalia took over Dobley last week.

Last year, the U.S. shelled suspected al-Qaida targets in Somalia, one of the most lawless and violent countries in the world. Neither U.S. Africa Command nor U.S. Central Command said it was aware of Monday's missile strike. A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, whose mandate covers Somalia, referred calls to the U.S. Defense Department.

"We woke up with a loud and big bang and when we came out we found our neighbor's house completely obliterated as if no house existed here," a resident of the town, Fatuma Abdullahi, told The Associated Press. "We are taking shelter under trees. Three planes were flying over our heads."

A police officer who gave only his first name, Siyad, because he was not authorized to speak to the media said the eight wounded were hit by shrapnel. He also said the planes were military aircraft.

An aid worker in Dobley said up to six people were still trapped in the rubble at midday. It was not clear if these victims were included in the police officer's tally.

"A minimum of two bombs were dropped," the aid worker, who asked that his name not be used because he is not authorized to speak to the media, told the AP by telephone. "Between four and six people are in the rubble."

Clan elder Ahmed Nur Dalab said a senior Islamic official, Hassan Turki, was in town Sunday to mediate between his fighters and a militia loyal to the government. Turki's forces took over Dobley last week.

In early 2007, Somali troops and their Ethiopian allies drove out a radical Islamic group to which Turki is allied that had taken over much of southern Somalia. The Islamic forces have fought to regain power.

Somalia has been mired in chaos since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

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