Two busy markets in southern Somalia were targeted by deadly explosions this week, which left at least 14 people dead and many others wounded.
The Islamic State has claimed several attacks inside Somalia in the past month, further outpacing the past two years in claimed attacks in the country. While the Islamic State has had a difficult time establishing a foothold inside the country, its claimed operations paints a picture of its areas of operation and types of operations it conducts.
In the past six months, US forces have thrice interdicted Shabaab car bombs and prevented imminent attacks against civilians in the Somalia capital, Mogadishu.
The United States attacked al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia in the southern town of Jilib, a recurring strike location and known Shabaab safe haven.
The location of last weekend’s strike highlights the geographical range of US operations against Shabaab, and the scope of the al Qaeda branch’s insurgency.
US forces conducted nine strikes in Somalia this year, all of which have targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in the country.
State added Ahmad Iman Ali, the leader of Shabaab’s network in Kenya, and Abdifatah Abubakar Abdi, a dangerous Kenyan commander, to its list of Specially Designated Global terrorists.
Shabaab has claimed a number of attacks in recent days across southern Somalia, including briefly recapturing the strategic town of Balad just north of Mogadishu.