Washington – The U.S. targeted Al Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia in a drone attack last week, in what was believed to be the first such airstrike in the anarchic eastern African nation, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The U.S. drone targeted two senior members of the al-Shabaab insurgent militia, amid growing fears in Washington that the Islamist group was seeking to expand its operations overseas.
The two militants, who had ties with Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born preacher believed to be hiding in Yemen, were wounded in the attack, the report quoted a military official as saying.
The U.S. military carried out a number of attacks in recent years against top Al Qaeda militants believed to be hiding in Somalia, but last week's incident appeared to be the first drone strike, the report said.
Al-Shabaab, which controls much of southern and central Somalia, is locked in a bitter battle for control of the capital, Mogadishu. The group also claimed responsibility for last July's deadly bomb blasts in Uganda, which killed 74 soccer fans.
President Obama's counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, included Somalia in a speech Wednesday that detailed the administration's new terror strategy.
"From the territory it controls in Somalia, al-Shabaab continues to call for strikes against the United States," he said.