A U.S. airstrike killed six members of the Al Shabaab terror group after they attacked U.S. troops on Monday, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said.
The airstrike was launched in response to an Al Shabaab ambush on U.S and partner forces in the area, AFRICOM said in an emailed statement to American Military News. The Al Shabaab fighters attacked from a building in the vicinity of Dar as-Salam, Somalia before the airstrike was called. Three more Al Shabaab fighters were also wounded in the airstrike.
The AFRICOM said U.S. forces were in the vicinity of the ambush and were present as part of an effort to advise and assist Somali partner forces. AFRICOM said Al-Shabaab falsely claimed U.S. casualties, but no U.S. forces were injured or killed during the attack.
AFRICOM reported no civilian casualties from the strike.
“Al Shabaab is a dangerous enemy,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Bradford Gering, who is the deputy director for operations for AFRICOM. “It is a danger to Africa and the United States. “We will continue to place pressure on the network and impact their ability to plan and execute these acts.”
U.S. Forces have been working with Somali partners, namely the Federal Government of Somalia, to train them to handle the Al Shabaab insurgency and eventually transfer responsibilities to the Somali government.
“As part of an international effort, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. interagency partners continue to help support Somali-led efforts to counter and contain dangerous terrorist organizations from exporting violence more broadly,” the AFRICOM statement read.
The news of the Monday strike comes after AFRICOM released information about a Tuesday strike that targeted a senior member of the Somali terror group. At least one Al Shabaab member was killed in the Tuesday strike, but AFRICOM did not confirm their identity as that of the senior Al Shabaab leader.
“Al Shabaab routinely resorts to the tradecraft of terror, crime, and propaganda to intimidate and seek control of the local populace,” said AFRICOM spokesman Col. Chris Karns. “Persistent pressure against the Al Shabaab damages their narrative, network, and plans for broader destruction and violence.”
Members of the Al Shabaab group has previously expressed support for both Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, ISIS.
AFRICOM has conducted numerous strikes against Al Shabaab so far in 2020. The latest strike comes less than a week after another AFRICOM mission, which killed an Al Shabaab bomb-maker planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on a roadway in Somalia.
In July, another AFRICOM led strike killed one of the group’s fighters and destroyed a checkpoint Al Shabaab was using to extort travelers and restrict the movements of people near the Somali capital city of Mogadishu.
Another major AFRICOM airstrike in April killed one of the terror group’s foundational members, Yusuf Jiis. Days after Jiis was killed, AFRICOM killed eight more Al Shabaab militants in another set of April airstrikes and then killed 11 more militants yet a further set of airstrikes just days after that.
“U.S. Africa Command and our international partners recognize that stability in Somalia will not be achieved through purely military means. It requires strong governance and providing economic programs and opportunity for the Somali people,” AFRICOM said in a previous press statement. “In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces contribute to the training of Somali forces and use a range of effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people. U.S. Africa Command continues to work with its Somali partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.”