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December 26, 2006

Claim: Up To 1000 Islamists Killed In Somali/Ethiopian Airstrikes; Islamists In "Full Retreat"

If true-- Somalia and Ethiopia can combine to crush these guys, but we can't?

Somalia's Islamists are in full retreat after Ethiopian airstrikes and a ground offensive that have killed up to 1,000 of the religious movement's fighters, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Tuesday.

"A joint Somali government and Ethiopian force has broken the back of the international terrorist forces... These forces are in full retreat," Meles told reporters in Addis Ababa, adding that up to 1,000 Islamist fighters had been killed.

"A few are Somali but the majority are foreigners," he said of the dead.

Addis Ababa has vowed to protect Somalia's weak interim government from rival Islamists based in Mogadishu. A week of artillery and mortar duels between the two sides has spiraled into open war that both sides say has killed hundreds.

Meles said most fighters of the Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) had fled to their home areas. He said Ethiopian forces were now hunting down troops from his arch-foe Eritrea, which he accuses of supporting the Islamists.

"The only forces we are pursuing are Eritreans who are hiding behind the skirts of Somali women, and terrorist mujahideen," Meles said.

Ethiopia says the SICC has recruited foreign jihadists, and that a handful of almost 300 prisoners taken after one battle for a central Somali town held British passports.

300 prisoners after one battle. (I highlighted "handful" so you wouldn't misread as I did and think all 300 had British passports.) 1000 dead.

What the hell?

Can we get these guys to lend us a hand in Iraq?


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posted by Ace at 05:48 PM

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