A US airstrike reportedly targeted Shabaab militants as they went on the offensive following the deadly terrorist attack in Nairobi.
Shabaab released a two-page statement saying the Jan. 15 attack at a hotel in Nairobi was conducted in accordance with Ayman al Zawahiri’s “guidelines.” The al Qaeda arm has other reasons for striking inside Kenya as well, including the government’s role in the guerrilla war in Somalia.
The jihadist group continues to launch large-scale attacks inside Kenyan territory.
With Shabaab continuing to target ISS members and pro-ISS members within its own ranks, it is unlikely Fiile will be the last commander to be killed by the al Qaeda branch.
US counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia shows no signs of slowing down despite a report last week that said the Pentagon plans to reduce its role there. The US has launched four strikes against Shabaab during the first week of 2019.
The Islamic State’s loyalists claimed more operations in Somalia in 2018 than in 2016 and 2017 combined. The group has also expanded its operations to include tactics normally associated with its larger rival, Shabaab.
The Islamic State released its first video footage of a clash with Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia and East Africa.
The strikes were launched to “prevent terrorists from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire, and recruit for future attacks,” AFRICOM noted.