17 December 2018

Somalia: US Airstrikes Hit Al-Shabab Rebels in Somalia, Killing 62

The US says it has struck al-Shabab rebels in the Gandarshe area of Somalia with airstrikes. It launched six attacks and according to a statement released by AFRICOM, at least 62 militants were killed

The US military has carried six airstrikes in the Gandarshe area of Somalia over the weekend, saying that the attacks killed a total of 62 al-Shabab militants.

In a statement issued Monday, the US military's Africa Command said it carried out four strikes on Dec. 15 in which 34 people were killed. It carried out two further strikes on Dec. 16 which killed 28.

All the air attacks were in the Gandarshe coastal area south of the capital, Mogadishu, it said. No civilians were injured or killed in the attacks, it said.

"Alongside our Somali and international partners, we are committed to preventing al-Shabab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia," the statement read.

All six strikes were carried out in close coordination with Somalia's government, it said. According to the military, none of the casualties were civilians.

Al-Shabab is active in parts of southern and central Somalia and uses the areas to plan and direct extremist attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radicals, said the statement.

The US military has carried out at least 46 airstrikes so far this year against al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida and is Africa's most active Islamic extremist group.

US airstrikes have picked up dramatically since President Donald Trump took office and approved expanded military operations in the Horn of Africa nation.

Airstrikes have also targeted a small presence of fighters linked to the Islamic State group.

av/msh (AP, dpa)

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