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Sources: U.S. fires at al Qaeda target in Somalia

Story Highlights

• Navy destroyer fires 5-inch shell into northern Somalia
• Attack is aimed at suspect in twin 1998 African embassy bombings
• No immediate word on results of attack
• Ethiopian forces recently ousted al Qaeda-linked Somali regime
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(CNN) -- A U.S. Navy destroyer off the coast of northern Somalia Friday fired on a suspected al Qaeda operative believed to have been involved in the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, sources confirmed to CNN.

There was no immediate word on the results of the attack, which was carried out using one of the destroyer's 5-inch guns.

U.S. officials have long suspected that some of those responsible for the embassy attacks have been hiding in the war-torn East African country. (Map)

The nearly simultaneous bombings on August 7, 1998, killed 213 people in Nairobi, Kenya, and 11 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Among the dead in Nairobi were 12 Americans.

In March, Ethiopian forces crushed an insurgency connected to the Council of Islamic Courts, a hard-line militia that had controlled Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia for six months in 2006.

The Islamists were driven from power in December by Ethiopian and Somali troops. U.S. intelligence shows al Qaeda stepped up its operations in Somalia after the Council of Islamic Courts took power, the sources said.

U.S. air strikes in Somalia in January reportedly targeted several suspects in the embassy bombings, but reports that one was killed were not confirmed.

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