Kenyan troops on Wednesday said they had killed 24 Al-Shabaab terrorists in a battle near Bardhere, a key town under the militants' grip in Somalia.
Kenya Defence Forces Spokesman David Obonyo said the victory was key to the capture of the town that has been under Al-Shabaab for the last seven years.
The town is near the militants' headquarters in Bansoor, where the terrorists moved after they were flushed out of Kismayu in 2013.
During the fight at a bridge leading to Bardhere at 1600 EAT, the forces working under the African Union Mission in Somalia injured and captured four other militants.
Eight Somali National Army soldiers were hurt while two others died.
Two Kenyan soldiers are undergoing treatment after they were also injured in bout.
The operation started last week and so far 84 Al-Shabaab fighters have been killed in separate incidents.
"The bridge is a main gateway into Gedo region. Al-Shabaab has predominantly used the bridge to move fighters and weapons and contraband as well as wreak havoc in northeastern Kenya. The fall of the bridge is, therefore, a major loss for Al-Shabaab," said Col. Obonyo.