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Somali military official: Islamic extremists overrun African Union base in southern Somalia


MOGADISHU, Somalia — A Somali military official says Islamic extremists have overrun an African Union base in southern Somalia after a firefight with troops there.

Col. Ahmed Hassan said Tuesday that the attack in the small farming town of Janale started with a suicide car bombing at the base's gate, followed by a firefight which lasted more than an hour.

Ahmed told The Associated Press by phone that the militants overran the base after damaging a nearby bridge with a massive bomb to prevent troops from escaping.

The Islamic extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had killed many troops.

There were no official details about casualties.

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