Somalia terror 'funded in Britain'
Press Association | January 10, 2007
The Foreign Office is investigating reports of British casualties in US air strikes on al Qaida suspects in Somalia.
The attacks came amid claims that support for the Islamic militant movement had come from the UK.
Meanwhile, the United Nations' new secretary general Ban Ki-moon voiced fears on Wednesday that the air strikes could increase hostilities and harm civilians.
Following days of fierce fighting in the African country, the United States launched a series of air strikes against Islamic extremists it suspects of having links to al Qaida.
Ethiopia's prime minister has said that many international terrorists had been killed, injured or captured in the fighting - including Britons.
"Notwithstanding the motives for this reported military action," Ban's spokeswoman Michele Montas said, "the secretary general is concerned about the new dimension this kind of action could introduce to the conflict and the possible escalation of hostilities that may result."
Somalia's deputy prime minister has claimed that much of the funding for the Islamist militants was coming from Britain and that some of their fighters were British and American passport holders.
There was also condemnation from British-based Islamic groups of the US intervention in the conflict.
Ethiopian forces invaded Somalia, a largely Muslim country, last month to prevent an Islamic movement from ousting the weak, internationally recognised government from its lone stronghold in the west of the country.
Leaders of the Islamic movement have vowed to launch an Iraq-style guerrilla war in Somalia, and al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden's deputy has called on militants to carry out suicide attacks on the Ethiopian troops. There were reports at the weekend that British passport holders were involved in the fighting, which has claimed scores of lives.
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