US sends warning to Ethiopian pilots as Shabaab targeted

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Warplanes swooped over Addis Ababa yesterday The US has warned pilots in Ethiopia that they could face anti-aircraft fire as they patrol the skies above the capital, Addis…

US sends warning to Ethiopian pilots as Shabaab targeted

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Warplanes swooped over Addis Ababa yesterday

The US has warned pilots in Ethiopia that they could face anti-aircraft fire as they patrol the skies above the capital, Addis Ababa.

The warning came as the country’s military bombed an Islamic militant group in Somalia.

Bombs hit the group of Shabaab insurgents, which claimed responsibility for an attack at a crowded hotel in Mogadishu this week.

Seventeen people were killed in the assault.

Shabaab had claimed responsibility for an attack on a packed hotel in Mogadishu this week

The group has intensified its attacks in recent months, despite losing most of its territory to African Union troops.

In recent days, Ethiopian jet fighters have also bombed outposts of Shabaab in Somalia’s capital, as well as al-Shabab’s training camps.

The government says Shabaab has now lost 42% of its territory, and says its fighters “could be migrating to Ethiopia”.

Ethiopia has been battling a proxy war with Somalia since 2007, when Ethiopian troops intervened in Somalia’s civil war to help the Ethiopians of the transitional government.

Since then, thousands of people have died in violence in the border regions between the two countries.

The threats of anti-aircraft fire – from attackers also using the same tactic against Western planes – have already affected Ethiopian airlines in the past.

During the same conflict in Somalia in 2007, Ethiopia’s government had to scramble fighter jets to the skies over Ethiopia to send them back.

Last year, a bomber from an al-Shabab splinter group hit an Ethiopian jet over neighbouring Djibouti.

According to Reuters news agency, Ethiopia’s defence ministry said in a statement that “local military bases” were “being used by al-Shabab” to “conduct terrorist activities”.

Ethiopia has also warned its citizens not to travel to Somalia, where insurgents have long struggled to defend their territory.

On Thursday, the US embassy in Ethiopia issued a security advisory warning its citizens to keep a low profile during their trips to the country.

It said Ethiopian soldiers were also often posted to the Somali capital to help with operations.

“Terrorists with sophisticated weapons also operate with relative impunity on the streets of Mogadishu,” the embassy said.

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