WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States launched an airstrike in Somalia against suspected terrorist targets – the second such attack this month, defense officials said yesterday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the action was carried out in secret, provided few details about the strike by an Air Force AC-130 gunship earlier this week and were uncertain whether the intended target was killed.

One official suggested that early indications showed that no high-value target was killed or captured.

At the Defense Department, spokesman Bryan Whitman declined to confirm any new strike. but said in general that the United States is “going to go after al-Qaida in the global war on terrorism wherever it takes us.”

He said the nature of some military operations, especially those by special operations commando forces, requires that they be kept secret in order to preserve an advantage in future missions.

A variety of U.S. special operations have operated in the Horn of Africa from a base in Djibouti, a small country sandwiched between Somalia and Ethiopia.

The U.S. Navy also has had forces in waters off the Somali coast, where they have monitored maritime traffic, boarded suspicious ships and interrogated crews in an attempt to catch anyone escaping the Somalia military operations.

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