The radical Islamist group says it carried out an assault on the headquarters of Somalia's Criminal Investigation Department in Mogadishu.
Reports of the early morning incident came from both al Shabaab and a Somali official saying foreign soldiers from an unnamed country traveled by helicopters and landed near the militant's base 30 miles outside Mogadishu.
Hassan Hanafi, a 30-year-old former media officer for the militant group, was sentenced on Thursday for the murder of six journalists in the East African country.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said 200 Kenyan soldiers were killed in the raid earlier this year. The Kenyan government denied this tally and has refused to release its own figures.
Kenyan troops say they killed al Shabaab's deputy commander and head of intelligence Mohamed Karatey during a graduation ceremony for insurgent fighters on February 8.
Members of the Islamist militant group bombed a hotel where government officials and lawmakers stay before engaging in an hours-long shootout with Somali security forces.
Ethiopia has maintained Washington funding despite reports by the US State Department that paint the country as one of the worst human rights offenders in sub-Saharan Africa.
Officials say eight militants entered the Amisom compound in Mogadishu on Thursday, with troops killing at least five of the fighters from the Islamist militant group.
Simon Ostrovsky traveled to Somalia to learn how the militant group al Shabaab evolved from a localized threat to a regional one.
This is not the first time that the al Qaeda-linked jihadist group has picked a fight with technology.