A Somali military official says Islamic extremist fighters killed four government soldiers and briefly took a town near the border with Kenya Monday.
Col. Osman Ali said the Monday morning attack on the town of Beled-Hawo started with a suicide car bombing targeting government troops' frontline defenses. A gunfight then followed between al-Shabab fighters and Somali troops.
He said some soldiers fled across the border into Kenya before returning to recapture the town from al-Shabab fighters, who had retreated amid air strikes by Kenyan army.
Al-Shabab frequently carries out attacks on government troops and African Union peacekeepers, whose deployment the group opposes.
Al-Shabab is fighting to create a strict Islamic state in this Horn of Africa nation.