US forces launched an airstrike Saturday in Somalia to support the Somali government's efforts to fight al-Shabab militants linked to terror attacks.
The U.S. military said no civilians were believed to have been killed or injured in Saturday's strike. There were no reports of Americans killed or wounded. It described the location as the Bar Sanjuni area near the port city of Kismayo.
The incident came a day after al-Shabab said it had attacked Ethiopian troops in Somalia in an ambush on the road between the capital, Mogadishu, and the southwest town of Baidoa.
Ethiopia contributes troops to a multinational African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission.
The air strike targeted al Shabaab fighters who had rammed into the military base near Jilib, 370 km (230 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu using a suicide auto bomb, military officials in the state of Jubbaland told Reuters.
Al-Shabaab is an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group.
The US Africa command has vowed to heighten a campaign against the Al-Shabaab militants, responsible for thousands of deaths in Somalia and the region-including Kenya.
Al Shabaab retains a strong presence in parts of southern and central Somalia, and the US military has stepped up air strikes over the previous year.
The general said seven Somali soldiers died, while al-Shabaab put the number at 15.
"In particular, the group uses portions of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists".
The airstrikes hamper the extremist group but have not "seriously degraded al-Shabab's capability to mount strikes either inside or outside Somalia", Matt Bryden of Sahan Research, an expert on the extremists, told The Associated Press after the Nairobi hotel attack.
Airstrikes alone can not defeat the extremists, Bryden said, and must be combined with more ground-based attacks as well as a non-military campaign to win over residents of extremist-held areas.