US aircraft attacked southern Somalia on Saturday morning, killing more than 100 Al-Shabaab militants, including 20 commanders, residents and officials have said.
Witnesses said the planes targeted the militants' hideouts in War Gaduud and El-Adde where many Kenyan soldiers were killed by the terrorists in January 2016.
Among senior Shabaab commanders killed in the dawn attack that also destroyed two Vehicles Bound Explosive Devices at War Gaduud were Abdirahman Fillow and Abdirahman Ben Dutie. Dutie was from Marehan rer Dalal section.
"Yesterday (Friday) night at War Gaduud and El-Adde, US airstrikes killed 20 Al-Shabaab commanders, among them Abdirahman Fillow and about 85 militants," said a security official who declined to be named."The strike happened at 2am and the siege continues."
Residents in El-Adde reported hearing explosions just after midnight on Friday."There was heavy bombing on an Al-Shabaab base near El-Adde Town but we don't know the number of casualties. We heard sounds of jets and then explosions," a resident said.
The bombardment came after US military officials said soldiers had been deployed to Somalia to train and equip the national and African Union forces fighting the terrorists.
The team is carrying out a train-and-equip mission that is expected to last through the end of September, according to American officials.
The US soldiers will join the small number of special operations forces already in Somalia providing counterterrorism support to local forces.
America maintains a small unit of about 50 troops in the country, mainly to advise and assist Somalia and Amisom soldiers. When called in, their helicopters, drones and manned aircraft are available for quick response.
President Donald Trump in March granted additional powers to US Africa Command to conduct counterterrorism strikes against the terrorists.