In the first strike of 2018, US forces have again halted an imminent car bomb attack intended for Somalia’s capital.
AFRICOM has stepped up operations against al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa. The US military has now targeted Shabaab forces five times and killed 10 fighters over the past week.
The US military has stepped up its attacks on al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa after the jihadist outfit has regained ground over the past two years. AFRICOM has targeted Shabaab 10 times since the beginning of June.
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced three more strikes on Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia and East Africa, over the past two days. All three took place in Shabaab-held territory.
In a newly released video, Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mahmoud Rage addresses graduates of a training camp for foreign fighters. “Many” of the graduates are from Kenya and, Rage says, they should form an “army that will conquer Kenya so that we may return to our families and relatives in a state of honor and glory.”
The Pentagon’s desire to actively target Shabaab reflects the growing concern that al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa is gaining strength despite the presence of both AMISOM and US forces.
Somali officials have reportedly captured Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi, who has been identified by the State Department as Shabaab’s “chief of intelligence.” The UN has said that another Shabaab official held that role.
Shabaab fighters dressed in military uniforms attacked a mosque inside the presidential palace. Two government officials are reported to be among those killed.