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US airstrike takes out terrorist bomb-maker in Somalia

An MQ-9 Reaper, armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, flies a combat mission over southern Afghanistan. (U.S Air Force/Released)
August 20, 2020

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has taken out a high-value member of the Al Shabaab terror group in Somalia on Thursday.

AFRICOM confirmed the successful airstrike in an emailed statement to American Military News. The Al Shabaab member, who was not named, had a history of making explosives and was reportedly working to place Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on a public road at the time of the strike near the vicinity of Kurtun Warey, Somalia.

The AFRICOM statement assessed they successfully killed the Al Shabaab bomber and destroyed a nearby motorcycle. No civilians were assessed to have been injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.

“Al-Shabaab continues to put Somali people in danger by ruthlessly attempting to place explosive devices in public areas,” U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joel Tyler, AFRICOM director of operations said of Al Shabaab. “These extremists continue to terrorize Somali citizens without regard for their safety.”

Al Shabaab has been affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS) throughout its history.

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“In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces use a range of effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people,” the AFRICOM statement continues. “Together with partner and allied forces, U.S. Africa Command works on a daily basis to improve security conditions to enhance governance and economic development while preventing al-Shabaab’s desire to expand their reach and further export violence.”

Thursday’s airstrike was coordinated with the Federal Government of Somalia, which has been fighting Al Shabaab militants. AFRICOM stated U.S. forces in Somalia are in the process of transferring security responsibilities to the Somali government.

“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,” the AFRICOM statement reads.

AFRICOM, through its partnership with Somali government forces, has carried out dozens of successful airstrikes against Al Shabaab militants in Somalia in 2020.

In July, an AFRICOM led strike killed one of the group’s fighters and destroyed a checkpoint the terror group 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.