Foreign troops launch Somali raid

Somalia map
Foreign soldiers have staged an attack on militants in Somalia, killing at least two people in a helicopter raid.
The troops, who according to some reports had uniforms with French insignia, attacked a vehicle carrying Islamists from the al-Shabab group.
Witnesses said the soldiers took away two men, and there were two bodies left in the road after the attack in the southern coastal town of Barawe.
A French military spokesman denied its forces were involved.
"There was no French operation," said admiral Christophe Prazuck, spokesman for the armed forces' general staff.
He said the only French forces in the area were tackling pirates off the coast and did not intervene on land.
'Burning vehicle'
Unconfirmed reports claim that top al-Qaeda suspect Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was killed in the attack.
Reuters and Spanish news agency Efe reported witnesses and al-Shabab sources as saying Kenyan-born Nabhan - who has been on the FBI's most-wanted list for years - was killed.
FOREIGN FORCES IN SOMALIA
French commandos with a pirate suspect, file image
December 2006 Ethiopia invades, helps topple militant Islamist group
2007, 2008 US airstrikes against militants it claims are linked to al-Qaeda
April 2008 French storm a yacht and capture pirates after ransom is paid
October 2008 Nato launches anti-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia
January 2009 Ethiopia withdraws its troops
April 2009 Two pirates killed and four hostages freed by French commandos
He is suspected of bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya and attempting to shoot down an airliner in 2002, and two attacks on US embassies in the region in 1998.
A village elder told the AFP news agency that four foreign helicopters had been involved in the Barawe raid.
"We heard the explosion and saw two helicopters flying over us," said Mohamed Ali Aden, a bus driver who drove past the burnt-out car minutes after the attack.
"There was only a burning vehicle and two dead bodies lying beside."
Neither Somali government nor Islamist forces have helicopters.
French commandos have launched raids in the past to rescue their citizens from pirates or militants. There is a French military base in neighbouring Djibouti.
The assault comes several weeks after a French security adviser held by militants in Mogadishu managed to get free. A colleague seized at the same time remains in captivity.
The US has also carried out air strikes against Somali Islamist groups it accused of links to al-Qaeda in recent years. It too has troops stationed in Djibouti.
Somalia has not had a functioning central government since 1991.
Rival Islamist factions are battling forces loyal to the weak UN-backed government, which controls only small parts of the capital Mogadishu.
 
 
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