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    Categories: Threat Matrix

US strike kills 4 Shabaab terrorists

An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft taxis on the flightline at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Dec. 19, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.)

US forces conducted a counterterrorism strike against Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, yesterday. The strike killed four Shabaab terrorists outside of a southern Somalia city, according to US Africa Command (AFRICOM).

The strike occurred approximately 50 kilometers northwest of Kismayo, the site of another recent airstrike. On Dec. 15, 2017, US forces conducted targeted Shabaab in the same approximate location, killing eight Shabaab fighters and destroyed one vehicle.

Kismayo, a port city in southern Somalia, was a Shabaab stronghold until 2012, when the Somali National Army recaptured it. AFRICOM noted that it would continue “targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region.”

In Mar. 2017, the Trump administration loosened the restrictions on the US military to use force against Shabaab, following Department of State and Defense assessments of the enhanced Shabaab threat.

Today’s strike is the second reported by AFRICOM inside Somalia in 2018. On Jan. 2, the US military hit an explosive-laden vehicle that was intended to be used as a suicide bomb inside the Somali capital of Mogadishu. US aircraft hit the vehicle as it was traveling 50 kilometers west of Mogadishu.

Bill Roggio & Alexandra Gutowski :Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal. Alexandra Gutowski is a military affairs analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.