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The New Arab

US tells embassy staff to leave Somalia immediately

Somalia has been rocket by militant attacks [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 November, 2017

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A new terror threat in Somalia has sparked an alarming travel warning to US citizens, with the State Department telling citizens to leave the country immediately.

The US has warned all non-essential staff to leave Somalia immediately following a "terrorism threat" against them at Mogadishu international airport.

"Due to specific threat information against US personnel on the Mogadishu International Airport, the US Mission to Somalia has directed its non-essential US citizen employees to depart Mogadishu until further notice," a statement posted on its website said.

It comes after the US carried out its first-ever drone strikes targeting Islamic State group militants in Somalia.

The situation in Somalia was "extremely unstable", Washington warned, with the threat to US citizens remained "critical".

US military's Africa Command (AFRICOM) said that drone strikes had been carried out in north-eastern Somalia and killed "several terrorists".

The first strike occurred around midnight on Thursday (9pm GMT) with the second taking place on Friday morning, some 11 hours later. There were no civilians in the area at the time, a spokesman told AFP

Six missiles hit an IS base in Buqa village, 60 kilometres (35 miles) away, in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

US forces have repeatedly hit al-Shabaab militant group on several occasions, but the drone strikes were the first such strikes targeting IS, the spokesman said. 

Several dozen armed men belonging to an IS-linked group briefly seized control of Qandala in October 2016, holding it for around six weeks before Somali forces retook it. 

The group carried out its first attack in Somalia this year, killing at least five people in Bosaso, a coastal city some 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Qandala.

Al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab still dominates the area.

Somalia has been hit by numerous terror attacks over the past year, including a bombing in October which left over 350 people dead.

Agencies contributed to this story

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