Friday, 16 November, 2018

Somalia: US air strike 'kills 60 al-Shabab fighters'

US Air Force F-15 fighter jet US Air Force F-15 fighter jet. A US airstrike in Somalia on October 16,2018 killed 60 al-shabaab fighters. FILE
Ellis Copeland | 19 October, 2018, 02:18

The U.S. military carried out an airstrike last week against the al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia, killing at least 60 militants, the U.S. Africa Command announced Tuesday.

In November 2017, more than 100 militants from Islamist Al-Shabaab group were killed in a USA air strike.

A US Africa Command spokesperson said the air strike had no link to the anniversary.

There has been no independent confirmation to the attack.

"Airstrikes reduce al-Shabaab's ability to plot future attacks, disrupt its leadership networks, and degrade its freedom of maneuver within the region", AFRICOM said in a statement. That is on pace to surpass last year's attacks against the group.

The day marked the one-year anniversary of what has been dubbed Somalia's 9/11, when truck bombers slaughtered 587 people in Mogadishu.

The US military has conducted more than two dozen air strikes, including drone strikes, in Somalia this year, the Associated Press news agency reports. The group, estimated at several thousands of fighters, still carries out deadly attacks against high-profile targets such as hotels and checkpoints in the capital and other cities.

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Farah Abdi Warsameh/APPresident Donald Trump has ramped up airstrikes against al Shabaab in Somalia.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Al-Shabab continues to hold parts of the country's south and central regions after being chased out of Mogadishu several years ago.

While some observers have questioned the effectiveness of airstrikes by the USA and Kenya and raised concerns about civilians being killed, the US military maintains that they "reduce al-Shabab's ability to plot future attacks, disrupt its leadership networks and degrade its freedom of maneuver within the region".

Ten days earlier, militants struck Somalia and United States forces in Mubarak, in central Somalia, killing one Somali soldier.

United States military officials have expressed concern that the group is again growing - even after losing much of its territory in Somalia in recent years and being targeted by U.S. drone strikes.

At least two attacks involved USA aircraft.

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