A U.S. airstrike killed dozens of al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Somalia on Friday as they fought a huge battle against the Somali National Army.
The strike killed approximately 30 terrorists associated with the group al-Shabaab and destroyed three vehicles, according to a press release from U.S. Africa Command.
Described as a “collective self-defense strike,” it came as Somalian soldiers “engaged in heavy fighting following a complex, extended, intense attack by more than 100 al-Shabaab fighters,” according to the release. The strike was requested by the Federal Government of Somalia.
U.S. Africa Command assessed that no civilians were injured or killed based on the remote location of the strike, about 160 miles northeast of the capital Mogadishu, according to the release.
The release describes al-Shabaab as “the largest and most deadly al-Qaeda network in the world.” Formed in the early 2000s, the terrorist group aims to form an Islamic state in Somalia and is capable of deadly attacks across East Africa, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
U.S. forces train, advise and equip Somalian partners to fight against al-Shabaab because Somalia is “central” to all of East Africa’s stability and security, according to U.S. Africa Command.
Controlling large areas of southern Somalia, al-Shabaab is the “principal security challenge” in Somalia, where a civil war has been raging since the 1990s, according to the CFR.
The other most recent strike against al-Shabaab came just before Christmas last year, killing six terrorists about 155 miles northeast of Mogadishu, according to another U.S. Africa Command release. Described as a “self-defense strike,” it caused no civilian casualties, the release stated.
Two other strikes earlier that month killed a combined 15 terrorists at the request of the Somalian government, according to a U.S. Africa Command release.
This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.