US slaps financial sanctions on alleged Somali terrorists

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration is imposing financial sanctions on three alleged leaders of an extremist Islamic militia in Somalia.

The three are suspected leaders of al-Shabaab, which the United States claims is linked to the al-Qaida terrorist group. The Treasury Department alleges that al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to undermine the Somali government and threaten peace activists.

One of those targeted is a spokesman and military commander with the group. His forces are accused of launching attacks last year on Somali government military bases as well as African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu.

The alleged founder and leader of al-Shabaab also is targeted, along with another man identified as a commander.

The action comes as calls mount for the United Nations to send peacekeepers to Somalia and piracy off the east African nation's coast has spiraled out of control.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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