US carries out first airstrikes against Islamic State in Somalia
04 November, 2017, 00:58
The US Army has reportedly conducted two air strikes on ISIS targets in Somalia, hitting the village of Buqa in the northern state of Puntland.
This is allegedly the first shot of the USA air force against the Islamists in Somalia.
The strikes occurred in northeastern Somalia and killed "several terrorists", the U.S. military's Africa Command said in a statement. He reportedly spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
"US forces will continue to use all authorised and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats", AFRICOM said. In April, President Donald Trump deployed US troops to Somalia for the first time in 20 years.
The first strike happened at about midnight local time, while the second happened at about 11 a.m., according to AFRICOM.
Last month, a group loyal to Islamic State seized a small port town in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, the first town it has taken since emerging a year ago.
USA special operations forces teams, along with U.S. air power, have periodically operated inside Somalia in recent years against the al-Shabaab terrorist group, which has been responsible for plotting and executing attacks targeting Westerners throughout eastern Africa and beyond.
In recent months, the USA has repeatedly hit Somali jihadists from the Shabaab rebel group that is aligned with Al-Qaeda, but Friday's development marks a significant step in the ever-evolving war against Isil.
While al-Shabaab has claimed its allegiance to al Qaeda, terrorist groups affiliating themselves with ISIS have worked to gain a foothold in places across the continent.
Friday's strikes also come in the wake of an ambush on October 4 in Niger that led to the deaths of four US special forces soldiers.
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