The United States and the Somalian government coordinated to launch two air strikes against al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate, the U.S. military said on Saturday.
The air strikes targeted terrorists and a compound in the vicinity of Jilib on Feb. 6. Initial assessments released on Feb. 8 concluded that an al-Shabaab facility was severely degraded and two al-Shabaab terrorists were wounded.
“Airstrikes are one way we help prevent al-Shabaab from building a safe haven to plan deadly attacks against the U.S. homeland and East African partners,” said U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Bradford Gering, deputy director of operations for U.S. Africa Command, in a statement.
“We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes,” U.S. Africa Command said.
Ads By GoogleThe United States began ramping up engagement in Somalia last year, conducting 72 air or drone strikes against al-Shabaab, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a U.S.-based nonprofit. That marked a 24 percent increase from 2018 and a nearly 200 percent increase from 2016.
Al-Shabaab attacked the Kenyan Defense Force Military Base in Manda Bay, Kenya, on Jan. 5, killing an American soldier and two U.S. contractors. Kenyan and U.S. forces fought back, killing four al-Shabaab terrorists and repelling several dozen other militants.
“The attack at Manda Bay demonstrates that al-Shabaab remains a dangerous and capable enemy,” U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, U.S. Africa Command commander, said in a statement after the attack. “They are a menace to the people of East Africa and U.S. national interests there and their sights are set on eventually attacking the U.S. homeland. It is important that we continue to pursue al-Shabaab and prevent their vision from becoming a reality.”