The Al Qaeda-linked militants said they ambushed the police about 70 km north of Garissa, a town where the Islamists raided a university and killed 148 people in April.

Al Shabaab militants, fighting to overthrow a Western-backed government in Somalia, have launched several attacks inside Kenya, trying to force it to pull troops from a African peacekeeping force in their homeland.

Last week, Al Shabaab attacked Yumbis and hoisted its flag on a mosque where fighters held prayers before heading to another nearby village.

Al Shabaab has killed more then 400 people on Kenyan soil since Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta came to power in April 2013.

Kenyan anti-terrorism forces arrested a "wanted terror suspect" in possession of a Russian-made hand grenade, bomb detonator and plastic explosives in the port city of Mombasa on Tuesday, county police commander Robert Kitur said.

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