The Islamic State warns Shabaab that it will respond to the group’s campaign targeting Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s loyalists in Somalia. Shabaab has been executing and arresting defectors who join the Islamic State since 2015. But the al Qaeda branch has stepped up its anti-Islamic State operations again in recent weeks.
Much like other assaults on popular hotels, restaurants, or various targets inside Mogadishu, Shabaab was quick to claim credit for the operation on social media.
Kunyo Barrow, where the most recent strike took place, is located in the Jubba River Valley, a stronghold of the al Qaeda affiliate.
A large concentration of Shabaab fighters a significant distance from its typical support zone in Jubba River Valley demonstrates the Al Qaeda affiliate’s resilience across Somalia.
This is the third time in the past month that US forces have conducted defensive airstrikes following Shabaab attacks.
Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, has executed a number of alleged spies this week. The group accused them of working for American, British and Somali intelligence. At least some of Shabaab’s claims are dubious, however.
The United States has conducted 24 strikes in Somalia in 2018, all of which have targeted Shabaab. The strike occurred near a town that was liberated by Somali forces just two days ago.
Today’s suicide bombings marks one of the first times European Union troops have been targeted by Shabaab.