US airstrikes kill 3 al-Shabab militants in Somalia, AFRICOM says
Stars and Stripes January 23, 2024
U.S. airstrikes killed three Islamic militants in Somalia, U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday, marking the first such attacks in 2024.
The strikes involved two separate engagements Sunday against al-Shabab terrorists in a remote area about 20 miles northeast of Kismayo, a southern coastal city, AFRICOM said in a statement.
The operation was done at the request of the Somali government. The command said it assessed that no civilians were killed. AFRICOM described the attack as a “collective self-defense airstrike.”
For years, the U.S. has provided security assistance to Somalia. In addition to airstrikes against al-Shabab, U.S. special operators train Somali ground forces.
Although Somalia has been at war with al-Shabab for about two decades, the al-Qaida-aligned terrorist group has shown resilience. AFRICOM called al-Shabab the largest and most active al-Qaida network in the world.
The group “has proved both its will and capability to attack U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests,” AFRICOM said.
Still, al-Shabab’s attacks are mainly focused inside Somalia, and the group hasn’t demonstrated the ability to strike far outside the country’s borders.