The latest U.S. airstrike in Somalia shows that the fight against al-Shabaab is keeping American forces in Africa very busy.
Seven suspected al-Shabaab fighters were killed in Tuesday’s airstrike in support of Somali forces, which took place near Galmudug roughly 317 miles northeast of Mogadishu, the country’s capital, according to U.S. Africa Command.
U.S. military officials do not believe any civilians were injured or killed by the airstrike, an AFRICOM news release says.
No information was available on whether the aircraft that carried out the strike was manned or unmanned, or what type of ordnance was used.
Since 2007, U.S. troops have assisted Somali forces fight al-Shabaab, a branch of al-Qaida in East Africa that is responsible for the Jan. 5, 2020 attack on U.S. troops at Manda Bay, Kenya, that killed three Americans.
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“Somalia remains central to stability and security in all of East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces train, advise, and assist partner forces to help give them the tools they need to defeat al-Shabaab, the largest and most deadly al-Qaeda network in the world,” an AFRICOM news release says.
So far this year, the U.S. military has carried out six airstrikes against al-Shabaab in Somalia along with one special operations raid that killed Bilal-al-Sudani, a former leader of the Islamic State group, according to the Long War Journal, which is produced by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies think tank in Washington, D.C.
U.S. airstrikes against al-Shabaab and ISIS hit a peak of 59 in 2019, falling to 44 in 2020 and 11 in 2021, according to data from the Long War Journal. Last year, the U.S. military conducted 15 airstrikes in Somalia.
The Somali government began an offensive against al-Shabaab in August 2022. Since then, Somali forces have retaken Harardhere, a former base for pirates, as well as Galcad, a nearby town.
“In both Harardhere and Galcad, the al-Shabaab militants fled without putting up a fight, though in Galcad some of the militants returned to attack a Somali government military base before 30 of their fighters were killed in a U.S. drone strike near the town on January 20, 2023,” according to the CTC Sentinel, which is published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
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