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US army says at least 24 al-Shabab members killed in air strike

Published: February 1, 2019
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Source: aljazeera.com

The United States armed forces said it has killed 24 members of the al-Shabab armed group in an air strike carried out on Wednesday.

In a statement released on Thursday, the United States Africa Command said the strike took place on a camp near Shebeeley, Hiran region in central Somalia.

"Precision strikes are part of our strategy. Strikes continue to help our partners make progress in their fight against the transnational terrorists who oppose peace in Somalia and the region," Director of US Africa Command Major General Gregg Olson said in the statement.

According to the press release, "no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike".

The al-Shabab group is yet to respond to the claims. 

The US carries out regular air raids in Somalia in support of a UN-backed government, which has been fighting against an al-Shabab rebellion for years. 

Last year, at least 45 air raids were carried out by US armed forces, up from 35 in 2017.

Despite these raids, al-Shabab continues to hold parts of the country's south and central regions after being chased out of Mogadishu several years ago.

The group, estimated at several thousand fighters, still carries out deadly attacks against high-profile targets such as hotels and checkpoints in Somalia and abroad.

Two weeks ago suspected members of al-Shabab carried out an attack on the upscale hotel dusitD2 hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

A total of 21 people were killed in that attack, which lasted for two days.

Shortly after the siege ended, Kenyan security forces raided premises and picked up suspects.

At least 11 people have been taken into custody in connection with the attack.

Nairobi announced days later that private security officers guarding public spaces such as malls, supermarkets and private premises, would be given guns for the first time.

The government said they would be given six months of intensive and compulsory training before being issued with firearms.

 

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The US military launched an air strike in Somalia on Saturday, killing 52 militants who had attacked a Somali military base earlier in the day, it said according to a Reuters report. The air strike targeted al Shabaab fighters who had rammed into the military base near Jilib, 370 km (230 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu using a suicide car bomb, military officials in the state of Jubbaland told Reuters.

Kenya has announced that it will arm private security officers guarding public places in the aftermath of Tuesday's attack on a luxury hotel and office complex. The siege, which lasted 18 hours and left 21 people dead, was claimed by the al-Qaeda-linked Somalia-based armed group, al-Shabab. Armed contractors will "guard key installations" where there is "a lot of human traffic", Fazul Mahamed, director general of the Private Security Regulatory Authority, said in a media briefing late on Friday.

In a shocking new development regarding Tuesday's brazen terror attack on an upscale hotel in Kenya's capital of Nairobi which left 15 dead as Somali-based al-Shabab militants stormed through the complex with automatic weapons, the lone American citizen identified among the dead was a 9/11 survivor. 

On Sunday, the U.S. military carried out an airstrike in Somalia against al-Qaeda-linked terror group al-Shabaab, U.S. officials said on Monday, as reported by Reuters. Officials did not specify whether it was a drone strike, and the Pentagon has not disclosed any additional information about the strike. The U.S. has been drone-striking Somalia for some time now, a policy Barack Obama escalated.

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