US airstrikes in Somalia kill 15 al-Shabab fighters
The U.S. military announced that airstrikes carried out by American forces killed 15 al-Shabab fighters in Somalia’s Hirshabelle State.
Two separate airstrikes were carried out in “collective self-defense,” the U.S. military in Africa announced Sunday, with the first occurring on Dec. 14 and the second on Dec. 17, according to a report from Voice of America.
The strikes were made at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia in support of Somali National Army forces, with the first strike killing seven militants and the second killing eight al-Shabab fighters.
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In a statement Sunday, U.S. Africa Command said that no civilians were killed or injured in the strikes
“U.S. Africa Command will continue to assess the results of these operations and will provide additional information as appropriate,” the statement said. “Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operations security.”
The al-Shabab terror network has claimed credit for a series of terrorist attacks in Somalia over the last few months, while Somali government forces and local militias have responded with numerous operations against the group since August.
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Somali government forces have been supported by air support from the U.S. and other governments, with the U.S. ramping up pressure on the group in recent months. In October, an airstrike carried out by U.S. forces took out al-Shabab leader Abdullahi Nadir. Later that month, the Pentagon announced an airstrike targeting al-Shabab units who had been attacking Somali National Army forces near Buulobarde, killing two in the strike.
“Al-Shabab is the largest and most kinetically active al Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests,” U.S. Africa Command said in a statement after the strike that killed Nadir.
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Meanwhile, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has recently vowed “total war” against al-Shabab.
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