MOGADISHU, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Somali security forces killed five al-Shabab extremists on Wednesday in a fierce fight in Qoryoley town in the southern region of Lower Shabelle, a military officer confirmed.
Ali Mohamed Aden, commander of Somali forces in Qoryoley, told journalists that al-Shabab extremists launched an attack on a military base run by Somali forces in the town, but the army thwarted the attack on Tuesday night.
"The militants drove two cars packed with explosives to the army base, but the army foiled them before they reached their target. There was a fierce fight which lasted many hours," Aden said.
"We killed five al-Shabab militants during the fight and sporadic gunfire is still heard on the outskirts of the town," he added, noting one of the soldiers died in the clash while another one was injured.
Residents told Xinhua there was an intense clash in the town.
"After morning prayer, we heard a heavy blast followed by gunfire. Government forces in the town were attacked by al-Shabab militants. Now the army is in the town and the militants are fighting outside the town," Safi Ahmed, a resident told Xinhua via phone.
The forces also killed several militants in a separate attack on El-Salini where the extremists raided the camp in the southern region.
Government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar Omar said al-Shabab suffered heavy casualties following a deadly attack.
However, the militant group said they had killed 17 Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in El-Sanini, destroyed four vehicles and seized two others.
The attack came barely a day after Somali forces killed 12 Al-Shabab militants in an operation in Wanlaweyn town in the same region.