'Several Terrorists' Dead After Big US First in Somalia

For first time, US conducts airstrikes against Islamic State in the country
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 3, 2017 4:36 PM CDT
'Several Terrorists' Dead After Big US First in Somalia
In this Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 file photo, Somali government soldiers patrol following a blast near the presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia.   (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)

The US military for the first time has conducted two airstrikes against Islamic State group fighters in Somalia, where the extremists are a growing presence in a country long threatened by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab. The US Africa Command said the two drone strikes killed "several terrorists" in northeastern Somalia, the first around midnight local time and the second later Friday morning, the AP reports. The strikes were carried out in coordination with Somalia's government, the statement said. Local officials confirmed the airstrikes. At least six missiles struck in Buqa, a remote mountainous village roughly 37 miles north of Qandala town in the northern state of Puntland, a Somali security official told the AP.

The US has carried out well over a dozen drone strikes against al-Shabab this year after the Trump administration approved expanded efforts against the group. Al-Shabab was blamed for carrying out Somalia's deadliest attack last month, a massive truck bombing in the capital, Mogadishu, that killed more than 350 people. Somalia's president has vowed a "state of war," with neighbors sending thousands of troops to help the local military and an African Union force. But ISIS-linked fighters who have split from the Somalia-based al-Shabab in the past couple of years pose a growing threat, notably in a part of the country far from al-Shabab's strongholds in the south.

(Read more Somalia stories.)

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