Three Americans killed during al-Shabab attack on military base in Kenya

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Al-Shabab militants launched a predawn attack Sunday on an airstrip used by the US and Kenyan militaries, located on Kenya’s coast near the border with Somalia, killing one US service member and two American private contractors, according to a US military statement.

Two other American contractors were wounded and were in stable condition, the statement said.

The attack marked a rare successful incursion by al-Shabab into a foreign military compound, let alone one outside its usual operating grounds in Somalia and one used by US Special Forces and other defense personnel.

Residents and tourists in the Lamu region reported seeing a plume of smoke and hearing gunfire at 3:30 a.m. that continued until midmorning. It was unclear exactly how the attack unfolded, but pictures of the aftermath indicated that al-Shabab was able to detonate explosives where US military equipment such as helicopters and other aircraft would have been stationed.

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