An Islamic terrorist from Britain was among six jihadists killed by US missile strikes on Somalia
The attacks launched from a US Navy destroyer in the Gulf of Aden late on Friday targeted Islamists linked to al-Qa'eda, believed to be hiding in Puntland, a semi-autonomous state in the north of Somalia.
At least 12 people were killed, according to reports from Bargal, the target site 780 miles north of the capital, Mogadishu.
"The terrorists were from America, Britain, Sweden, Morocco, Pakistan and Yemen," said Mohamed Ali Yusuf, Puntland's finance minister, citing documents retrieved from bodies.
A spokesman for the British High Commission in Nairobi, which monitors Somalia, said, "We are aware of the report of foreign fighters killed in Somalia, but at this stage we have no information concerning them."
Persistent reports from Somalia's transitional government and its Ethiopian backers that foreigners including British citizens have fought alongside Somali jihadists have yet to be proved.
Several witnesses including expatriate aid workers have claimed that earlier 'evidence' pointing to foreign fighters was doctored to garner international support for operations against Islamists in Somalia.
Friday's attacks were the third inside Somalia by US armed forces since December, when Ethiopian troops routed fighters from the Islamic Courts Union, which had controlled the country for six months.
Extremists elements in the ICU's leadership were said to be harbouring al-Qa'eda agents including Fazal Abdullah Mohammed, a key suspect in the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
An air attack in southern Somalia in January missed three of Washington's most-wanted, killing their associates instead. A large number of gunmen loyal to the hardliners in the Islamic Courts are still believed to be hiding in Somalia.
They are also thought to be responsible, with disgruntled clan fighters, of ongoing Iraq-style insurgent attacks in Mogadishu.
Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, refused to respond to reporters' questions on Friday's strikes, saying that they were part of an 'ongoing operation'.
Separately, Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi accused al Qaeda of being behind a suicide bombing that killed seven people outside his home in Mogadishu on Sunday and said its militants had to be eliminated.
Five soldiers and two civilians were killed when the bomber detonated a vehicle rigged with explosives at the gates of Mr Gedi's residence in a heavily guarded neighbourhood of the Somali capital.
It was at least the third attempt on Mr Gedi's life since he returned to Somalia in May 2005.
Briton 'killed in Somali attack'