Dustin Harrison was a week away from going home when he and two other Americans were killed when Al-Shabab extremists overran their base in Kenya on Sunday. (Facebook photo)
Dustin Harrison was seven days away from calling it quits as a private contractor, piloting a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 350 with cameras and sensors for aerial survey. Then, on Sunday, al-Shabab Islamist extremists overran a key counterterror base in Kenya used by American forces. Harrison, 47, a 1990 Auburn High School graduate, was killed with two other Americans.
He had made his home in Tucson, Arizona, with his wife, Hope Harrison, and their 2-year-old daughter, Heaven Aviana.
"He was a special op. He had a pretty serious job," his wife said. "He was ISR — intelligencer, surveillance and reconnaissance."
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Somalia's al Shabaab militant group attacked on Sunday a military base in Kenya used by both U.S. and Kenyan forces and published pictures of masked gunmen standing next to an aircraft in flames.
U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed an attack on the Manda Bay Airfield in Lamu county, close to the Somali border. The Kenyan military said the attack was repelled and that four militants had been killed. There were no immediate reports of Kenyan or U.S. casualties.
WASHINGTON — Al-Qaeda and its affiliates remain as much of a threat to the U.S. as "it has ever been" after the terrorist group rebuilt itself while the U.S. and other nations focused on destroying ISIS in Iraq and Syria, a State Department official said Thursday.
"Al-Qaeda has been strategic and patient over the past several years," Nathan Sales, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, said at a briefing in Washington. "It's let ISIS absorb the brunt of the world's counterterrorism efforts while patiently reconstituting itself. What we see today is an al-Qaeda that is as strong as it has ever been."
President Donald Trump has ramped up airstrikes against al-Shabab in Somalia. (Associated Press/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
The U.S. military could be guilty of war crimes in Somalia, according to a new report that challenges what the government says about civilian casualties from its bombing campaign against al-Shabab, an al-Qaida affiliate, in the African nation.
The investigation, conducted by Amnesty International, found that US airstrikes from both drones and manned aircraft killed at least 14 civilians and injured seven more people in just five of more than 100 strikes in the past two years.
"The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law, and some may amount to war crimes," the Amnesty report said.
Al Shabab jihadists launched a vicious attack on a military base in Somalia on June 8, killing nearly 70 and reportedly beheading civilians in what Somali army officials described to the Associated Press as “the region’s deadliest attack in years.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated on Thursday that the Pentagon is open to sending additional U.S. troops to Somalia to fight the al Shabab terror group and train the Somali in combatting the al Qaeda offshoot.