18 August 2017

Somalia: U.S. Says Airstrikes Kill 7 Al-Shabaab Fighters

Photo: New Times
A drone.

The U.S. military says seven al-Shabab militants have been killed in a series of airstrikes in southern Somalia.

The military's Africa Command says U.S. forces conducted three precision airstrikes Wednesday and Thursday in Jilib, a town about 200 kilometers south of Mogadishu.

It says the strikes were conducted in coordination with Somali forces and killed seven al-Shabab fighters.

The statement Thursday said the U.S. would not disclose the units and assets involved in the attacks to ensure operational security.

Earlier, the Somali government said President Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo authorized the coordinated operation. It said one of the militants killed was "a senior al-Shabab leader responsible for multiple bombings in Mogadishu."

Witnesses in Jilib told VOA's Somali Service they heard the sound of bombings overnight.

U.S. airstrikes in Somalia have killed many al-Shabab leaders over the past decade, including the group's former emir, Ahmed Abdi Godane.

The al-Qaida-linked group has fought since 2006 to overthrow the Somali government and turn Somalia into a strict Islamic state. The group is also responsible for attacks in Uganda and Kenya.

The Africa Command statement said, "We continue to work in coordination with our Somali partners and allies to systematically dismantle al-Shabab and help achieve stability and security throughout the region."

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