A US strike in Somalia killed seven al-Shabaab fighters on Tuesday, US Africa Command said in a statement. The strike was carried out at the request of the Somali government and was a “collective self-defense strike,” AFRICOM said.
The strike was carried out approximately 320 miles northeast of Mogadishu.
“Given the remote location of the operation, the command assesses that no civilians were injured or killed,” AFRICOM said.
Earlier this month, the US carried out two strikes against al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, killing 17 fighters in all, AFRICOM said.
Tuesday’s strike is the sixth time this year that US forces have conducted strikes against al-Shabaab in coordination with the Somali government, an increased pace of activity against a militant organization that AFRICOM considers the largest and most deadly al Qaeda network in the world. The numerous operations against al-Shabaab are a sign of the growing cooperation between the US and Somali governments against what the two countries view as a growing regional threat.
In late-January, the US also carried out a counterterrorism operation in Somalia that killed Bilal al-Sudani, an ISIS leader responsible for spreading ISIS ideology in Africa.
According to AFRICOM, Somalia views the military actions as part of a broader counterterrorism strategy, in combination with economic reform, political reconciliation, and religious tolerance.
The US has provided ongoing support to the Somali government since President Joe Biden last year approved a Pentagon request to redeploy US troops to the area in an attempt to counter the al-Shabaab terrorist group. The approval to send fewer than 500 troops was a reversal of former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all US troops from the country in 2020.