Muslim Times(Web Desk) – The United States claims that at least 60 militants were killed in Somalia in a “precision airstrike” that purportedly targeted their positions in the East African country last week.
The Pentagon’s Africa Command said in a statement on Tuesday that it had carried out the airstrikes in Somalia on Friday.
It said the strike took place in the Harardhere area, where American forces are said to be training Somali troops and have also partnered with the United Nations-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
The command said the attack targeted al-Shabaab — the al-Qaeda-linked militant outfit that has long been fighting Somalia’s Western-backed federal government.
“We currently assess this airstrike killed approximately 60 terrorists,” it claimed.
The command also claimed that the strike “was the largest airstrike against al-Shabaab since November 21, 2017, when US forces conducted an airstrike against an al-Shabaab camp killing approximately 100 terrorists.”
Citing US military officials, CNN said the strike was carried out by a drone.
None of that information could be independently verified.
The US has carried out at least 27 airstrikes in Somalia this year. The militant group, however, is more powerful now in central Somalia, carrying out attacks against government, military, and civilian targets in the capital, Mogadishu, as well as regional towns.
The US, which has a significant military presence in Africa, has the largest number of forces in Somalia. It expanded the number of its troops there to 500 last year.
Trump authorized the military in March 2017 to conduct “precision strikes” targeting al-Shabaab in support of the Federal Government of Somalia. Formerly the military was only authorized to carry out airstrikes in self-defense of American military “advisers” on the ground.
The US currently has 7,500 US military personnel in several counties across Africa, who are conducting 3,500 exercises and military engagements throughout the continent per year — an average of 10 per day, according to the Canadian-American print magazine Vice.
The military engagement has now increased 1,900 percent since Africa Command was established 10 years ago on the continent, the magazine wrote.