Soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) patrol outside a Mosque during Eid al-Fitr prayers, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at a Mosque in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, July 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ismail Taxta
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Somali government troops backed by African Union forces Friday captured the Al-Shabab stronghold of Dinsor, the second town seized from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists this week, the defense minister said.While Dinsor fell without a major fight, with Al-Shabab gunmen fleeing ahead of the assault, witnesses have reported heavy casualties in the weeklong offensive with civilians caught up in the fighting. Witnesses confirmed the takeover of the southern town, saying the Al-Shahab fled ahead of government and Ethiopian troops with the AU force, pulling out of the town Thursday afternoon.The African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM, last week launched "Operation Jubba Corridor" – an offensive it said was aimed at flushing the insurgents out of rural areas in southern Somalia and which has involved Ethiopian and Kenyan forces.Al-Shabab is fighting to overthrow Somalia's Western-backed government which is propped up and protected by the 22,000-strong AMISOM force.
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