WRAPUP 1-Somalis brace for Kenyan air assault, some flee

Wed Nov 2, 2011 4:55pm GMT

* Rebels prevent some civilians from fleeing, residents say

* Kenyan military warns Somalis to stay away from rebel bases

* Eritrea denies it supplying arms to al Shabaab

* Incursions risk galvanising support for militants (.)

By Abdi Sheikh and Sahra Abdi

MOGADISHU, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Somalia braced for Kenyan air attacks on Wednesday and Islamist militants stopped civilians from fleeing at least one likely strike zone.

Kenya, which sent troops into lawless Somalia nearly three weeks ago to crush the al Shabaab militant network, said on Tuesday it planned "imminent" air raids on militant bases and warned residents to stay clear of them.

Kenya's warning of air bombardments was prompted by reports the al Qaeda-linked militants had received two consignments of weapons, flown into the rebel-controlled town of Baidoa.

Eritrea dismissed media reports it had delivered the arms cache as "outright lies" meant to dirty its reputation.   Continued...

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