Two rocket explosions at Ethiopian and Somali troop quarters in Mogadishu Tuesday night, US air raids continue over the south

The RPG blasts were followed by automatic fire. No word on casualties.
US air strikes continue to pursue al Qaeda fugitives in southern Somalia after the initial AC-130 gunship attacks Monday.
Witnesses reported 50 dead after the first strikes.
Somali president Abdulahi Yusuf, just returned to Mogadishu, justified the US air attacks against al Qaeda. The Bahrain-based US navy’s Fifth Fleet announced Tuesday that the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has joined three other warships in the coastal waters of Somalia “due to rapidly developing events in Somalia.”
Planes from the carrier have begun flying over the country after a series of intelligence-gathering missions.
debkafile: the air strikes signal increasing US involvement in the Ethiopian-backed operation to reinstate the Somali government six months after it was swept from power by al-Qaeda-linked Islamists and lay hands on al Qaeda’s East African leaders.
Somali president Abdulahi Yusuf arrived in Mogadishu Monday and announced his objection to dialogue with the Islamists. It was the first time he set foot in the capital since he was elected in 2004 and his arrival coincided with the second day of Islamic guerrilla attacks on Ethiopian and government forces.
The Islamists holed up in the jungle fastness south of Hayo, near Ras Kamboni and Badmadow at Somalia’s southernmost tip near the Kenyan border. are cut off from escape by sea by patrolling US warships and across the Kenyan border by the Kenyan military.
US special forces have joined the hunt for wanted al Qaeda leaders. Ras Kamboni was described after 9/11 as an al Qaeda-supported training ground and refuge of al Qaeda terrorist masterminds including Fazul Abdullah Fazul, perpetrator of the 1988 embassy bombings in East Africa and many other acts of terror.
US assistant secretary of state of Africa Jendayi Frazer is in Mogadishu to promote talks between the government headed by Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi and moderate non-al Qaeda Islamists, including the Somali parliament speaker Sherif Hassan Sheikh Aden. Somalia is strategically located at the point where the Red Sea opens into the Indian Ocean. She said Washington had already opened dialogue with some ICU officials. The African Union is planning a peacekeeping mission to stabilize Mogadishu amid the chaos and deprivation of a country which has had no organized government since 1991.
debkafile‘s counter-terror sources identify the three notorious al Qaeda leaders as: Abdullah Fazul, from the Comoro Islands, Ali Saleh Nabhan, from Kenya, and Abu Taha al-Sudani, from Sudan. Fazul, the most senior, is wanted for lead roles in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, the 1996 Ethiopian Airline hijack in which four Israeli air industry directors and 3 Israeli civilians were murdered; the Oct. 2000 ramming of the USS Cole in Aden Harbor which cost the lives of 19 US seamen, and the 2002 coordinated air-missiles attacks on the Mombasa Paradise hotel and the Israeli Arkia airliner bringing Israelis to the hotel.
Fazul is also the highest ranking operative in contact with clandestine al Qaeda networks in the Sinai Peninsula. His capture and interrogation would for the first time provide access to a primary source on al Qaeda’s precise plans for operations against Israel, but he has more than once escaped when his pursuers were hot on his heels.

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