Kremlin says Putin’s ‘I can take Kiev’ remark misquoted – USA TODAY

Against a backdrop of the start of fledgling peace talks over Ukraine, a top Kremlin aide accused EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso Tuesday of breaching diplomatic confidentiality and of taking words out of context by quoting President Vladimir Putin as saying that he could be in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, within two weeks if he wanted.

The Russian president allegedly made the comments during a phone conversation about the Ukraine crisis with Barroso, who reportedly related them to colleagues at last week’s European Union summit.

“If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks,” Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper quoted Putin as saying, implying that this could be the fallout if the EU stepped up sanctions against Russia.

In Moscow, Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s foreign policy adviser, pushed back strongly, telling reporters that the president’s statement, as apparently quoted by Barroso, was “taken out of context and carried a completely different meaning,” the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency reports.

EUROPE TRIP: Obama hopes to reassure NATO allies

Putin’s comment reportedly came in response to Barroso pointing out Ukrainian and Western claims that Russia had sharply escalated the conflict in eastern Ukraine by sending regular army units into Ukraine.

NATO has estimated that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers have entered Ukraine, helping turn the tide in favor of pro-Russian insurgents.

Ushakov accused Barroso of violating diplomatic practices to speak publicly about a private conversation. “If that was really done, it looks not worthy of a serious political figure,” Ushakov said. “Irrespective of whether these words were pronounced or not, this quote was taken out of context and had a very different meaning.”

The war of words from Moscow emerged as representatives of Ukraine, Russia, pro-Russian rebels and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are holding talks in Minsk, the Belarus capital, to try to resolve the festering Ukraine crisis.

The talks on Monday lasted several hours and were adjourned until Friday, when the parties are expected to discuss specifics of a possible cease-fire and a prisoners’ exchange.

In Moscow, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday urged the United States to use its influence in Ukraine to encourage efforts to reach a political settlement. “It’s necessary to restrain the party of war in Kiev, and only the United States can do it,” he said at a briefing.

Lavrov also said that “compromise” is the only way to resolve the crisis and accused the West of supporting Kiev and undermining the peace process.

The Ukraine crisis will be high on the agenda for President Obama, who was scheduled to leave Tuesday for a four-day European trip meant to reassure NATO allies and send a stern message to Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

Obama will also attend a NATO summit in Wales on Thursday that will include Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.

Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists have been battling since mid-April in eastern Ukraine, with rebels claiming independence for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. More than 2,500 have died in the fighting.

In the latest clashes, rebels have opened up a new front in the war with an offensive along the coast of the Sea of Azov. Ukraine has charged that Russian military equipment and troops crossed the border last week to bolster the offensive.

Russia has denied sending any soldiers or equipment to the rebels, although rebels have acknowledged that fighters include Russian “volunteers” and some Russian soldiers on home leave.

Contributing: Associated Press

Follow Doug Stanglin on Twitter: @dstanglin

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Somali officials say US struck where al Shabaab were meeting – Reuters

Al Shabaab soldiers sit outside a building during patrol along the streets of Dayniile district in Southern Mogadishu, March 5, 2012. REUTERS/Feisal Omar


(Reuters) – An air strike by U.S. military forces struck an area where leaders of Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked militants were meeting, intelligence sources said on Tuesday, but it was unclear whether any insurgent commanders were killed.

The strike prompted rumors among Somali government officials that it had targeted al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and other leaders who were suspected to have been at the location, but there was no confirmation they were hit.

If he were killed, it would be a major victory against the group.

Since taking charge in 2008, Godane has restyled the group as a global player in the al Qaeda franchise – a transformation that was highlighted when it killed at least 67 people in an attack on a Kenyan shopping mall in September.

The militants have also staged guerrilla attacks in parts of the capital, as well as in neighboring Kenya and Uganda.

Godane’s close associate, Ahmed Mohamed Amey, was killed by a U.S. air strike in January.

After the Westgate assault, Navy SEALS stormed ashore into the al Shabaab stronghold of Barawe, where a regional official said the air strike was launched against, but failed to capture or kill their target.

The U.S. Department of Defense said late on Monday that its forces had carried out the operation against al Shabaab and would provide more information “when appropriate”. The Somali government and al Shabaab officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

“There was an air strike at a base where senior members of al Shabaab had a meeting last night,” a senior intelligence official who gave his name as Ahmed told Reuters on Tuesday.

“So far Godane’s death is a strong rumor that may or may not turn to be true. What we know is that the militants were bombarded. However, it is difficult to know how many of them or who particularly died,” he added.

Abdiqadir Mohamed Sidii, governor of Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia, where the strike occurred, some 245 km (150 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu, said he believed Godane and other senior al Shabaab members had been killed.

“We understand a U.S. drone killed Ahmed Abdi Godane and other seven senior members last night near Hawaay area around Barawe town,” Sidii told Reuters by phone.

Sidii did not say how he got the information on the attack, given the location is in an area still under al Shabaab control.

Residents in Haaway said they heard loud explosions late on Monday in an area they described as a densely forested.

Al Shabaab, which aims to impose its own strict version of Islam, controlled Mogadishu and the southern region of Somalia from 2006 to 2011. It was forced out of the capital by peacekeeping forces deployed by the African Union.

African Union forces launched a new offensive this year to drive the Islamists out of towns and other areas they still control, in response to a surge in gun and bomb attacks in Mogadishu by the militants whose fighters have targeted legislators and the presidential palace.

(Additional reporting by Feisal Omar and George Obulutsa; Editing by James Macharia and Alison Williams)


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Somali officials say US struck where al Shabaab were meeting – Reuters

Al Shabaab soldiers sit outside a building during patrol along the streets of Dayniile district in Southern Mogadishu, March 5, 2012. REUTERS/Feisal Omar


(Reuters) – An air strike by U.S. military forces struck an area where leaders of Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked militants were meeting, intelligence sources said on Tuesday, but it was unclear whether any insurgent commanders were killed.

The strike prompted rumors among Somali government officials that it had targeted al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and other leaders who were suspected to have been at the location, but there was no confirmation they were hit.

If he were killed, it would be a major victory against the group.

Since taking charge in 2008, Godane has restyled the group as a global player in the al Qaeda franchise – a transformation that was highlighted when it killed at least 67 people in an attack on a Kenyan shopping mall in September.

The militants have also staged guerrilla attacks in parts of the capital, as well as in neighboring Kenya and Uganda.

Godane’s close associate, Ahmed Mohamed Amey, was killed by a U.S. air strike in January.

After the Westgate assault, Navy SEALS stormed ashore into the al Shabaab stronghold of Barawe, where a regional official said the air strike was launched against, but failed to capture or kill their target.

The U.S. Department of Defense said late on Monday that its forces had carried out the operation against al Shabaab and would provide more information “when appropriate”. The Somali government and al Shabaab officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

“There was an air strike at a base where senior members of al Shabaab had a meeting last night,” a senior intelligence official who gave his name as Ahmed told Reuters on Tuesday.

“So far Godane’s death is a strong rumor that may or may not turn to be true. What we know is that the militants were bombarded. However, it is difficult to know how many of them or who particularly died,” he added.

Abdiqadir Mohamed Sidii, governor of Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia, where the strike occurred, some 245 km (150 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu, said he believed Godane and other senior al Shabaab members had been killed.

“We understand a U.S. drone killed Ahmed Abdi Godane and other seven senior members last night near Hawaay area around Barawe town,” Sidii told Reuters by phone.

Sidii did not say how he got the information on the attack, given the location is in an area still under al Shabaab control.

Residents in Haaway said they heard loud explosions late on Monday in an area they described as a densely forested.

Al Shabaab, which aims to impose its own strict version of Islam, controlled Mogadishu and the southern region of Somalia from 2006 to 2011. It was forced out of the capital by peacekeeping forces deployed by the African Union.

African Union forces launched a new offensive this year to drive the Islamists out of towns and other areas they still control, in response to a surge in gun and bomb attacks in Mogadishu by the militants whose fighters have targeted legislators and the presidential palace.

(Additional reporting by Feisal Omar and George Obulutsa; Editing by James Macharia and Alison Williams)


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Nato weighs rapid response force for eastern Europe – Times of India

WASHINGTON: As Ukrainian leaders warned on Monday of “a great war” with Russia, Nato leaders’ meeting in Wales this week were expected to endorse their most concrete response yet to increased Russian military intervention in Ukraine: establishing a rapid-reaction force capable of deploying quickly to Eastern Europe, officials of the alliance said.

The new force of some 4,000 troops, capable of moving on 48 hours’ notice, will be supported with logistics and equipment pre-positioned in Eastern European countries closer to Russia, with an upgraded schedule of military exercises and deployments that are intended to make Nato’s commitment of collective defense more credible and enhance its deterrence.

The agreement is planned as the substantive centerpiece of the Nato meeting, which will take place Thursday and Friday and will be attended by President Obama, who will also stop in Estonia before the summit meeting. His aides said the trip was intended to highlight the United States’ commitment to Nato, and the alliance’s determination to protect all 28 members from aggression — from Moscow or elsewhere.

“The summit is very important because Russia thought it can change the borders of a sovereign European country by force, and this is happening not very far from Nato’s borders,” said one of Obama’s proud Estonian hosts, Prime Minister Taavi Roivas. “The security situation has changed, and we need to rethink our plans and reinforce our allies, so we can be 101 percent sure that all member states are equally and strongly protected.”

The sense of urgency was highlighted by events in Ukraine on Monday, as President Petro O Poroshenko accused Russia of military aggression to alter the battlefield. “Direct, unconcealed aggression has been launched against Ukraine from a neighboring country,” he said, according to the presidential website. “It radically changes the situation in the conflict area.”


USPresident Barack Obama will attend a NATO summit later this week. (REUTERS photo)

Ukraine’s defense minister, Valeriy Heletey, was more emphatic. “A great war has arrived at our doorstep, the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War II,” he said in a Facebook post. And Col. Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council, said on Monday that Ukrainian forces had withdrawn from the airport near Luhansk in the face of a Russian Army tank battalion, and that seven Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the last 24 hours. Russia regularly denies sending troops into eastern Ukraine.

For Obama, the trip is a chance to show Europeans that he is dedicated to Nato at a time when Russia is challenging the postwar European order, built on the principle of no border changes by force.

“The tension you’re seeing between Russia and the west is going to be put on display in Wales, and the President is going to be leading that effort,” said Ivo H Daalder, the previous American ambassador to Nato and now head of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Obama, he said, “wants to reaffirm the unity and strength of the alliance.”

Nato leaders are trying this week to reassure allies that the commitment to collective defense, in Nato’s Article 5, is solid. The alliance wants to show that it means what it says and will have the capability to defend its most vulnerable members against Russian aggression, whether overt or more covert, or a hybrid, of the two, as in Ukraine.

“The really ironic aspect here is that a re-energized, restrengthened Nato is Vladimir Putin’s worst nightmare, and yet it’s his tactical actions that have done just that,” said James G Stavridis, who was Nato’s commander from 2009 to 2013 and is dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, referring to Russia’s president.

It is also an opportunity for Obama, buffeted by a cascade of international crises, to rally Europeans into what Secretary of State John Kerry has called a “global coalition” to confront an increased terrorist threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and other radical Islamist groups in Africa.

Though ISIS is not on the formal agenda for the summit meeting, Kerry and defense secretary Chuck Hagel will meet European counterparts to develop a strategy to counter ISIS.

But the emphasis will be on Russia. As both American and European leaders weigh additional sanctions against Moscow, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary general, said on Monday in Brussels that the new rapid reaction force “will ensure that we have the right forces and the right equipment in the right place, at the right time.”

Numerous leaders of Nato countries have said that any hope of achieving the “strategic partnership” with Russia envisioned as long ago as the 1990 Nato summit was finished because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine. Nevertheless, Nato is being careful not to violate the Nato-Russia Founding Act, the 1997 agreement with Moscow under which Nato pledged not to permanently base substantial forces in Eastern Europe.

The compromise will come from a regular rotation of troops and the positioning of equipment and supplies, including weapons, ammunition and fuel, in eastern Europe. Rasmussen said it would also require command and control and logistics experts, “so this force can travel light but strike hard if needed.”

Russia’s “aggressive behavior,” he said, will mean “a more visible Nato presence in the East for as long as required.” Nato for now appears unwilling to formally abandon the Nato-Russia Council established in 2002, though the alliance suspended “cooperation” with Russia in May.

The moves, combined with more military exercises and enhanced air patrols over the Baltic States, Poland and Romania are intended to deter Russia and reassure newer members.

“This is a credibility summit,” said Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House, a policy research institute based in London. “When we say we’re able to do something, we must have the political will and ability to do it.” The summit meeting will also be measured, he said, on how “governments use it to wake up and sensitize their populations to the fact that we live in an increasingly dangerous world with real threats to our prosperity and security, and that more money must be spent.”

Poroshenko will attend the summit meeting to discuss ways that Nato can help Ukraine. Nato is expected to set up new trust funds to help Ukraine better defend itself. The assistance is expected to come in the form of logistics, from fuel to spare parts; defense against cyberwarfare; improving intelligence, command and control; and importantly, help for veterans’ payments.

Obama’s message to Nato will be, “We stand with you, Article 5 constitutes an ironclad guarantee of your security,” said Charles Kupchan, senior director for Europe at the National Security Council. Obama’s message to Russia, he said, is simple: “Don’t even think about messing around in Estonia or in any of the Baltic areas in the same way that you’ve been messing around in Ukraine.”

Obama will use the Wales meeting to urge Europeans to spend more on defense, and more effectively.

It is a far more crowded agenda than Obama anticipated last spring, when the summit meeting was to be focused on winding down Nato’s combat mission in Afghanistan. By 2015, it is scheduled to become a training and assistance force of 8,000 to 12,000 troops, two-thirds of them American.

Julie Hirschfeld Davis reported from Washington, and Steven Erlanger from London. Stephen Castle contributed reporting from Brussels; Carlotta Gall from Kiev, Ukraine; and Neil MacFarquhar from Moscow.

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Ukraine shifts tactics against rebels while claiming ‘full-scale invasion’ by Russia – Fox News

Ukraine Rebuilding Am_Cham640.jpg

August 31, 2014: A Pro-Russian rebel holds ammunition in the village of Hrabske, eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Ukraine’s defense minister has said that government forces are shifting their strategy in an effort to prevent further setbacks at the hands of pro-Russian separatist rebels. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that Valeriy Heletey said Monday that Kiev’s military were no longer attempting to roust the rebels from their bases in eastern Ukraine and would instead attempt to defend themselves from what he claimed was a “full-scale invasion” by Russian troops. 

“The operation to liberate the east of Ukraine from terrorists is over,” Mr. Heletey said in a Facebook post Monday, according to the Journal. “We must urgently build our defense against Russia, which is trying not only to reinforce regions occupied earlier by terrorists, but to attack other Ukrainian regions.

“Unfortunately, in such a war, the losses will be numbered not in their hundreds, but in thousands, even tens of thousands,” the statement continued. “We must refrain from panic and show that Ukrainians are not about to surrender.”

The latest deterioration of Ukraine’s military situation comes as President Obama is due to depart Washington Tuesday afternoon for a one-day visit to Estonia before traveling to Wales for a NATO summit. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that NATO leaders will approve a special rapid response military unit that will be placed on permanent high alert in the event of any crisis. 

Ukraine and NATO have repeatedly claimed that thousands of Russian regulars are inside Ukraine assisting the rebels, a charge that Moscow has denied. 

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko repeated the charge Monday when he ndisguised aggression has been launched against Ukraine from a neighboring state,” in a speech at a military academy in Kiev. “This has changed the situation in the zone of conflict in a radical way,” Poroshenko added.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso breached confidentiality when he quoted President Vladimir Putin as saying Moscow could take over Kiev in two weeks if it wished. Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow on Tuesday that Putin’s statement was “quoted out of context and carried a completely different meaning.”

Several European publications earlier this week quoted Barroso saying that Putin had made the remark in a private conversation. 

Ukrainian military spokesman Col. Andriy Lysenko said Monday that Kiev’s forces had withdrawn from the airport in Luhansk, one of two major rebel-held cities that had been surrounded just days ago. He also said that Ukrainian troops were taking up positions to prevent Russian forces from moving into the port city of Mariupol on Ukraine’s southern coast, as well as to protect the retreat of troops from the town of Illoviask. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal. 

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Russia ‘to alter military doctrine towards Nato’ – BBC News








File photo: Armed Russian soldier stands near Russian army vehicles outside a Ukrainian border guard post in the Crimean town of Balaclava, 1 March 2014Tensions between Russia and Nato countries are high over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine

Russia is to alter its military doctrine as a result of the Ukraine crisis and Nato’s presence in eastern Europe, a top Russian official says.

Mikhail Popov, a Kremlin adviser, said that deteriorating relations with the US and Nato would be reflected in the updated military strategy.

Nato said on Monday it would boost its presence in eastern Europe to protect its members.

Ukrainian troops are battling pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine.

Ukraine’s defence minister on Monday accused Russia of launching a “great war” that could claim tens of thousands of lives – claims dismissed by Russia, which denies actively supporting the rebels.


‘Aggravating tensions’

Mr Popov, deputy secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, told Russia’s RIA news agency that “the military infrastructure of Nato member states” was “getting closer to [Russian] borders, including via enlargement”.

Nato’s actions were one of the key “external threats” to Russia, he said.

“Nato’s planned action… is evidence of the desire of US and Nato leaders to continue their policy of aggravating tensions with Russia”, Mr Popov said.

There were no details on how the doctrine might change.
















Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Belgium









Nato Secretary-General Rasmussen: “We must face the reality that Russia does not consider Nato a partner”








Nato announced its plans on Monday for a rapid response force of several thousand troops to protect eastern European members against possible Russian aggression.

The force, to be made up of troops provided by member states on a rotating basis, would be able to be deployed within 48 hours, Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

Military equipment and supplies would be pre-positioned in member states in the east so the force could “travel light, but strike hard if needed”, he added.

Mr Rasmussen insisted that the plans would not breach the 1997 Nato-Russia Founding Act, which forbids the presence of permanent bases in eastern and central Europe.

The new measures are set to be approved at a Nato summit in Wales this week.

The Nato security alliance covers 28 member states, including eastern European countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic. It does not include Ukraine.


‘Runway destroyed’

Meanwhile, crisis talks between Ukraine officials, rebels and Russian envoys ended without agreement on Monday.
















Bullet hole in glass window









Emily Thomas reports on the Ukrainian accusations that Russia is launching a full-scale military intervention in the east of their country








Ukraine’s army has been forced to retreat amid a series of gains by pro-Russian rebels in both the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and further south around the port of Mariupol.

On Monday, Ukraine’s army said it had been forced to withdraw from Luhansk airport after it was attacked by Russian tanks.

The acting Luhansk region administration chief Irina Verihina told Ukraine’s 112 TV: “Our troops have withdrawn, but the runway is completely destroyed. There’s no way planes can land there.”


‘I can take Kiev’

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has accused Russia of “direct, overt aggression against Ukraine”.

Russia has repeatedly denied Ukrainian and Western accusations that it is providing troops and equipment to the rebels.

Meanwhile, a Russian official responded to allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin had commented: “If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks”.

The reported comments were said to be made in a phone call to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and were reported in Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.

Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov said that whether or not the words were spoken, the quote “was taken out of context and had a totally different meaning”, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported.


line break


Analysis – Jonathan Marcus, BBC News, diplomatic correspondent


Ukrainian army servicemen around an armoured vehicle are seen through dust raised by passing vehicles near Debaltseve, Donetsk region, on 29 August 2014. Ukraine has asked for more military supplies from Nato to help deal with pro-Russia separatists in the east

In response to the Ukraine crisis, Nato is to establish a new rapidly deployable “spearhead” force capable of being deployed within a matter of only two days.

This is all part of a much wider overhaul of Nato’s response forces which Nato officials say is not solely linked to Ukraine; it will be capable of deploying anywhere within the alliance to give immediate reassurance and a demonstration of alliance resolve.

For such a force to be effective there will have to be regular exercises and Nato officials note that headquarters and other so-called “enablers” – key logistics elements for example – will need to be based closer to areas of potential threat – for that read closer to Nato’s eastern and southern borders. Fuel stocks and ammunition may also need to be pre-positioned further east.


line break


Map of rebel forces in Ukraine

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US Troops Take Action On Militants In Somalia – New York Times

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Telegraph.co.uk
US Troops Take Action On Militants In Somalia
New York Times
American military forces launched an operation in Somalia on Monday against the Qaeda-linked militant network the Shabab, defense officials said. Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said that officials were still “assessing the results of …
US reportedly targets leader of al-Shabaab with Somalia drone strikeFox News
US military operation targets extremists in SomaliaUSA TODAY
US military conducts operation in Somalia, Pentagon saysCNN
Daily Mail -Telegraph.co.uk -MiamiHerald.com
all 546 news articles »

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US military operation targets extremists in Somalia – USA TODAY

U.S. military forces directed a counter-terrorism operation against the al-Shabab network of Islamic extremists in Somalia, the Pentagon said Monday.

There was no immediate word on whether the operation was successful.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, Defense Department press secretary, disclosed the action in a brief statement Monday evening.

“U.S. military forces conducted an operation in Somalia today against the al-Shabab network. We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate,” he said.

No other details were released.

NBC news, citing an unnamed U.S. official, reported that a drone fired Hellfire missiles at two vehicles in southern Somalia and that the primary target was al-Shabab’s top leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane.

The action comes after Somalia’s government forces regained control of a high-security prison in the capital, Mogadishu, that was attacked Sunday by heavily armed suspected jihadists who attempted to free other extremists held there.

Kirby did not say whether the U.S. action was related to the prison attack.

The Godka Jilacow prison is an interrogation center for Somalia’s intelligence agency, and suspected militants are believed to be held there.

Also on Monday, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) announced its forces, working jointly with the Somalia National Army, liberated several towns as they advance on their main target: the strategic town of Jalalaqsi.

“The Somali National Army supported by AMISOM forces have faced little resistance from their advancement as al-Shabab simply melted away when they heard the aligned forces are approaching,” AMISOM announced in a statement.

The Washington Post reported that journalists in Somalia said suspected U.S. drones fired missiles near the port city of Barawe, a stronghold for al-Shabab.

It was al-Shabab gunmen who attacked the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last year, killing at least 67 people.

Contributing: Associated Press

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NATO sets up emergency force of 5000 to counter Russian aggression – The Australian

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NATO sets up emergency force of 5000 to counter Russian aggression
The Australian
BRITAIN and its NATO allies will agree this week on an emergency force of up to 5,000 troops ready to deploy within 48 hours in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine. The “spearhead” of a much larger reaction force will be one of the decisions at a …
NATO may create quick-strike force over Ukraine crisisMiamiHerald.com
NATO to ask Canada to contribute to new rapid response forceToronto Star
NATO Weighs Rapid Response Force for Eastern EuropeNew York Times
The News International -NPR (blog) -Irish Independent
all 187 news articles »

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US military conducts operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia – Fox News

shabaab2_090311.jpg

Members of al Shabaab, al Qaeda-linked insurgents, ride in their pick-up trucks after distributing relief to famine-stricken people outside Mogadishu, Somalia, Sept. 3.Reuters

The U.S. military on Monday conducted an operation against the Islamic militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia, the Pentagon said.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby provided few details about the nature of the operation, the results of which he said were being assessed. 

“We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate,” he said in a statement. 

The U.S. action comes after Somalia’s government forces regained control of a high security prison in the capital that was attacked Sunday by seven heavily armed suspected Islamic militants who attempted to free other extremists held there. The Pentagon statement did not indicate whether the U.S. action was related to the prison attack.

Somali officials said all attackers, three government soldiers and two civilians were killed. Mogadishu’s Godka Jilacow prison is an interrogation center for Somalia’s intelligence agency, and many suspected militants are believed to be held in underground cells there.

The Somali rebel group al-Shabaab, which is linked to Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack that shattered a period of calm in Mogadishu after two decades of chaotic violence. The attack started when a suicide car bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the gate of the prison, followed by gunmen who fought their way into the prison.

It was al-Shabaab gunmen who attacked the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, with guns and grenades last September, killing at least 67 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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