Somali officials report deadly US-backed raid on al-Shabab

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Somali intelligence officials say commandos backed by U.S. forces have raided two al-Shabab checkpoints at which the extremists extort money from commercial vehicles, killing several fighters.

The officials also say two U.S. airstrikes in the area during the overnight raid destroyed an explosives-laden minibus that was prepared for a complex attack on an unspecified location.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The U.S. Africa Command has no immediate comment.

Residents of Awdhegle, a farming village in Lower Shabelle region in the south, report hearing gunfire and explosions.

One elder tells The Associated Press that "something big happened here last night." He gave his name only as Yusuf for fear of reprisal from the al-Qaida-linked extremists.