Al Shabab, a Somali terrorist group that was attacked by the U.S. last week, dismissed Tuesday the U.S.' claims of having killed more than 150 of its members. The Pentagon said Monday that it struck Saturday a training camp at Raso, almost 200 km from the capital of Somalia, as the group was preparing to launch an operation soon.
The al Shabab had been largely pushed away from Mogadishu due to efforts of the African Union peacekeeping mission. However, it continues to disrupt peace in the country. The U.S. said that it had attacked the training camp while a ceremony was underway, and that the camp had been under surveillance for a while. The group was also preparing for a large-scale attack that would have threatened the U.S. and African units. Jets and drones were used to strike the camp, BBC quoted Pentagon Spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis as saying.
"The Americans are dreaming. We never gather that many of our fighters in one place. We know the security situation," Abdulaziz Abu Mus'ab, the group's military operations spokesman, told Al Jazeera.
"Yes, the attack happened and it happened at the location they mentioned, but the number they are telling the world is a lie," Mus'ab added.
Davis on Monday had said: "The fighters were there training and were training for a large-scale attack. We know they were going to be departing the camp and they posed an imminent threat to US and [African Union] forces. It was an air operation. Initial assessments are that more than 150 terrorist fighters were eliminated."
The al Qaeda-linked group in January 2016 attacked El Adde, a African Union Mission in Somalia base where Kenyan soldiers were present. Scores of Kenyan soldiers died in the attack. Earlier this year, the terrorist group had attacked a beachfront restaurant that killed 20 people in Mogadishu.