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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 09:29 GMT
Somalis protest over US bombing
Hassan Turki
Islamist leader Hassan Turki is wanted by the US
Hundreds of women and children have marched through the Somali town bombed by the US on Monday, chanting anti-American slogans.

At least four civilians were reportedly killed but an Islamist spokesman said none of their fighters were hurt.

The US said the attack was aimed at a "known al-Qaeda terrorist" but has not said whether its goal was achieved.

Islamist insurgents seized Dhoble town last week and reports said a leader, Hassan Turki, had been in the area.

Mr Turki is on the US list of "financers of terrorism".

The BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan in the capital, Mogadishu, says he has not been seen or heard from since the attack.

The Somali government has not yet commented on whether it gave the US permission to launch the air strike on its territory.

New strategy

One of the organisers of the protest in Dhoble told the BBC she feared that some people may still be trapped under the rubble of the buildings destroyed when three missiles landed on the town.

"We are complaining about the air strike by the superpower on civilians," said Ruun Sheikh Mohammed, who runs a local women's group.

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There are reports that at least one of the blasts may have been caused by a cruise missile.

The town's residents also say they could see US planes flying overhead - these could still be heard on Tuesday morning, they said.

The Islamists have reportedly been regrouping in the area in recent weeks.

Our reporter says the Islamists have adopted a new strategy of launching attacks outside the capital.

Islamist spokesman Sheikh Mukhtar Robow said the buildings destroyed had all been inhabited by civilians.

They were ousted from the capital, Mogadishu in December 2006 by government forces, backed up by Ethiopia, with some intelligence from the US.

Dhoble was the last town they held.

The US has an anti-terror task force based in neighbouring Djibouti and bombed the area a year ago.

The US accused the Somali Islamists of harbouring those responsible for the 1998 attacks on its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The Islamists denied this, as well as reports they had links to al-Qaeda.

Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991.

Last month, a senior UN official told the BBC that Somalia was the worst place in the world for children.



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