MOGADISHU, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Somali forces backed by international partners killed 40 al-Shabab fighters during an operation carried out in central Somalia, the government said on Thursday.
The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism said a joint operation conducted on Wednesday night by the Somali National Army (SNA) and its foreign allies targeted the militants at the Ali Foldhere area in the Middle Shabelle region.
"The operation was part of the efforts to eradicate the militants in the country, and limit any movement attempts across areas they still exist," the ministry said in a statement issued in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
The government has stepped up a military offensive against al-Shabab militants since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was sworn into office in May.
Pro-government local militia dubbed Ma'awisley has also intensified the attack against the al-Qaida-linked militants who have lost a huge swathe of territory that they controlled a decade ago. ■