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Monday, February 1, 2010

Somali Islamists al-Shabab 'join al-Qaeda fight'

Somali Islamist rebel group al-Shabab has confirmed for the first time that its fighters are aligned with al-Qaeda's global militant campaign.

The group said in a statement that the "jihad of Horn of Africa must be combined with the international jihad led by the al-Qaeda network".

Meanwhile, several people have died in fighting in Mogadishu after government troops shelled militant positions.

Islamist insurgents control much of southern and central Somalia.
The government, which is backed by the UN and African Union, holds sway only in a small part of Mogadishu.

Despite repeated accusations by the US that al-Shabab is linked to al-Qaeda, the group denied the connection in a recent interview with the BBC.

The BBC Somali service's Mohamed Mohamed says it is the first time the group has officially confirmed its fight is linked to al-Qaeda.

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