Shabaab attacks US and partner force outside Mogadishu

On Sept. 11, Al-Qaeda’s Somalia branch attacked US and partner forces, resulting in casualties on both sides, according to a US Forces Africa Command (AFRICOM) press release today. The attack occurred in Mubaraak, a central village located approximately 37 miles west of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. US personnel did not incur injuries or casualties and are fully accounted for.

Following the attack, the United States conducted a defensive airstrike which killed two Shabaab terrorists and wounded an additional one. AFRICOM does not assess any civilian casualties.

The United States regularly strikes Shabaab in the vicinity of Mogadishu, a frequent target of Shabaab attacks. An estimated 30 percent of Shabaab’s claimed attacks between Oct. 2017 and April 2018 took place in and around Mogadishu, according to a study by FDD’s Long War Journal. For example, just a day before this incident, Shabaab conducted a suicide car bombing against a local government headquarters in Mogadishu.

The United States has conducted a total of 22 strikes in Somalia this year, all of which have targeted Shabaab, AFRICOM Media Relations Chief John D. Manley confirmed to Long War Journal over email. The United States conducted 31 strikes against Shabaab last year, a record high, that it is on track to meet or exceed.

“U.S. forces in cooperation with the government of Somalia are conducting ongoing counterterrorism operations against al-Shabaab and ISIS- Somalia to degrade the groups’ ability to recruit, train, and plot terror attacks in Somalia and the region,” added Manley.

Shabaab continues to control rural areas and small towns in southern and central Somalia despite US-supported military operations by the African Union and the Somali government.

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.

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