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U.S. TROOPS DESTROY SOMALI ATTACK HUB

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U.S. troops cracked down on gunmen linked to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid, seizing weapons and using missiles to destroy a compound believed to be a staging ground for attacks on U.N. troops.

The air and ground assaults staged Wednesday by the U.S. Army's elite Quick Reaction Force indicate a growing sense of frustration with the gunmen, who have become increasingly bold as they seek to undermine the U.N. military operation in Somalia.Two Pakistani soldiers have been killed, and two Americans and three Pakistanis have been wounded in midday sniping attacks in the past week. Last week, an American ship was damaged by a rocket-propelled grenade fired into Mogadishu's port.

Maj. David Stockwell, the U.N. military spokesman, said roadblocks and barricades that were once just a nuisance to patrols have lately become ambush sites where gunmen lie in wait for troops.

The compound targeted Wednesday was the site where the Pakistanis were killed in a gun battle two days earlier, Stockwell said. It was also believed to house gunmen who wounded the Americans on Sunday. It belonged to Aidid's principal financial backer, Osman Atto, whose other compounds have been targeted in earlier U.N. raids.