A Somali official confirmed on Monday reports of an attack on an American base in the country. Yusuf Abdourahman, a Lower Shabelle regional security officer, told The Associated Press that a suicide bomber had detonated an explosives-fueled vehicle at the gate of a military air base serving as a base for US and Somali forces.
After the bombing, a shot was heard on the base, indicating a prolonged attack on the plant.
Somalia's Islamist extremist rebels, al-Shabab, took responsibility for the attack.
The US military uses Belidogle runway in the Lower Shabelle area as a base to shoot down drones attacking al-Shabab and training Somali troops. About two weeks ago AFRICOM confirmed a strike by US drones in support of Somali forces attacked by al-Shabab fighters during a patrol in Lower Juba province.
The US Air Force Africa Command (AFRICOM) has not provided any immediate information about the Belidogle incident.
Al-Shabab, who is often exaggerating battlefield operations, claims in an online statement that the attack started with several explosives-laden trucks that would allow a group of militants to get into base they "attacked American troops".
There were reports of a second attack on peacekeepers of the European Union in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. A Reuters journalist said he saw a heavily damaged armored vehicle with a small Italian flag after an explosion that apparently targeted an EU convoy. There were no immediate reports of victims.
Al-Shabab was behind the brazen attack on a shopping and hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya, in January, which killed more than 20 people, including one American.
Kenyan intelligence officials told CBS News that the al-Shabab cell in Kenya behind this attack is tracking the high-quality DusitD2 hotel complex for at least two years.