US Kills 100 Terrorists in One Airstrike

An American fighter jet. (Photo: www.airforce.com)
An American fighter jet. (Photo: www.airforce.com)

The United States air force killed more than 100 terrorists in a manned air strike on Sunday in Somalia. The terrorists belonged to the al-Qaeda-linked Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab. The strike was followed up with an attack by Somali ground troops, according to the local news agency SONNA.

Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the government of Somalia and impose a theocratic state ruled according to their interpretation of sharia law. Al Shabaab was responsible for a truck bombing that killed at least 358 people in Mogadishu in October, among many other horrific terror attacks.

U.S. Africa Command stated the strike was carried out against an al-Shabaab camp some 125 miles north of the capital Mogadishu. There have been 29 such strikes so far this year. Of these, seven took place between November 9 and 14.

President Trump authorized “precision airstrikes” against al-Shabaab targets in March. He designated parts of Somalia as zones of “active hostilities,” which changed the rules of engagement. Prior to that, Africa Command was only allowed to act in defense of U.S. forces.

This latest strike is the largest one since Trump expanded Africa Command’s mission. Trump also increased the size of the U.S. troop presence in Somalia. There are now some 500 American military personnel in Somalia tasked with advising and supporting Somali and African Union troops, up from 200 last year.

The United States has been carrying out covert operations in Somalia since 2001.

 

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Elliot Friedland
Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.