US military carries out 4 airstrikes against Al-Shabab in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia — The U.S. military on Sunday announced that it conducted four airstrikes against the al-Shabab extremist group in southern Somalia, killing two fighters, Garowe Online reports.
The U.S. Africa Command [AFRICOM] said airstrikes occurred in the vicinity of Kunya-Barrow, Janaale, and Awdheegle, all located in the volatile Lower Shabelle region, a hotbed of Al-Shabab on February 23.
"The airstrikes eliminated checkpoints and facilities used by Al-Shabab to collect an illegal tax to fund terrorist activities and oppress the innocent people of Somalia," read AFRICOM statement.
An assessment revealed that no civilians were injured or killed, it added.
The U.S. military has carried out more than a dozen airstrikes, including drone strikes, this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in sub-Saharan Africa.
AFRICOM said the air raid was carried out in coordination with the government of Somalia. However, Mogadishu has not yet commented on the operation.
American troops based in Somalia have stepped up airstrikes against Al-Shabab and ISIL-linked militants in Puntland since President Donald Trump approved expanded military operations in early 2017.
Al-Shabab, which seeks to topple the UN-backed weak Federal Government in Mogadishu, continues to hold parts of the country's south and central regions after being chased out of Mogadishu in 2011.
On Saturday, February 23, the group has killed the oldest member of Somali parliament, Osman Elmi Boqorre in Mogadishu after two militants armed with pistols attacked the lawmaker in a new housing he was building in Karan district.
The slain MP was without security guards at the time of his assassination. Mogadishu police said Sunday two suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder.