US airstrike kills 52 al-Shabab extremists in response to an attack on soldiers in Somalia
- The U.S. military carried out an airstrike killing 52 al-Shabab extremists
- The airstrike occurred on Saturday near Jilib in Middle Juba region in Somalia
- It carried out the attack in response to an attack on Somali forces by al-Shabab
- Al-Shabab controls large parts of rural southern and central Somalia
The U.S. military said it carried out an airstrike in Somalia that killed 52 al-Shabab extremists in response to an attack on Somali forces.
The U.S. Africa Command statement says the airstrike occurred on Saturday near Jilib in Middle Juba region.
The U.S. says Somali forces had come under attack by a ‘large group’ of the al-Qaida-linked extremists.
The U.S. military said it carried out an airstrike that killed 52 al-Shabab extremists days after deadly attack on a luxury hotel complex
A woman reacts after seeing the body of her family member who were killed in an attack
The statement does not say how many Somali forces were killed or wounded. There are no reports of Americans killed or wounded.
Al-Shabab controls large parts of rural southern and central Somalia and continues to carry out high-profile attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, and elsewhere.
The group claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on a luxury hotel complex in Kenya’s capital on Tuesday.
Al-Shabab via its Shahada news agency asserted that its attack on two Somali army bases killed at least 41 soldiers. It described the location as the Bar Sanjuni area near the port city of Kismayo.
The United States has dramatically stepped up airstrikes against al-Shabab in Somalia since President Donald Trump took office, carrying out at least 47 such strikes last year.
Some have targeted top al-Shabab leaders or key financial officials; the extremist group funds its attacks with an extensive network of ‘taxation’ and extortion.
A US made Reaper drone part of Operation Barkhane’s aerial detachment flies over the Nigerian military airport
In October, the U.S. said an airstrike killed about 60 fighters near the al-Shabab-controlled community of Harardere in Mudug province in the central part of the country.
The airstrikes hamper the extremist group but have not ‘seriously degraded al-Shabab’s capability to mount strikes either inside or outside Somalia’, Matt Bryden of Sahan Research, an expert on the extremists, told The Associated Press after the Nairobi hotel attack.
Airstrikes alone cannot defeat the extremists, Bryden said, and must be combined with more ground-based attacks as well as a non-military campaign to win over residents of extremist-held areas.
The U.S. on Saturday said it is committed to ‘preventing al-Shabab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia.’