A US airstrike reportedly targeted Shabaab militants as they went on the offensive following the deadly terrorist attack in Nairobi.
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.
The Islamic State claims to have killed 14 members of Shabaab, al Qaeda’s arm in Somalia.
The last three strikes against Shabaab have taken place in an area where foreign al Qaeda fighters have historically sheltered. AFRICOM has targeted Shabaab 40 times throughout Somalia in 2018.
Shabaab killed two Somali generals who were leading a military offensive against the group in the Lower Shabelle region, south of Mogadishu.