US launches drone strikes in Somalia after deadly car bombing

Three drone airstrikes on Sunday against the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabab in Somalia killed four militants, according to the U.S. military.

U.S. Africa Command officials said an initial assessment concluded that two airstrikes killed two militants and destroyed two vehicles in Qunyo Barrow, and the third airstrike killed two militants in Caliyoow Barrow.

The precision airstrikes, which were in coordination with the Somali government, came a day after a truck bombing in Somalia’s capital killed at least 78 people.

People salvaging goods after a car bomb destroyed shops in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)

People salvaging goods after a car bomb destroyed shops in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsame)

“Since (Al-Shabab)’s first external attack in 2010, the group has ruthlessly killed hundreds,” said the director of operations for U.S. Africa Command, Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, in a statement. “They have attacked and killed African partners, allies, and fellow Americans.  They are a global menace and their sights are set on exporting violence regionally and eventually attacking the U.S. homeland.”

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U.S. Africa Command officials said no civilians were injured or killed in the airstrikes, and the military complied with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict to ensure the safety of civilians.

While no group has yet claimed responsibility for the Mogadishu bombing, Somalia’s president blamed the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic terrorist organization, which attacked the presidential palace in Somalia’s capital earlier this month.

The U.S. military also carried out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Sunday — days after a U.S. defense contractor was killed at a military compound in a rocket attack.

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Military jet fighters conducted "precision defensive strikes" on five sites of Kataeb Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Iraqi militia, Jonathan Hoffman, a spokesman for the Pentagon, told Fox News. Two defense officials added that Air Force F-15 jet fighters carried out the strikes.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien traveled Sunday to Mar-a-Lago in Florida to meet with President Trump. "We discussed with him other options that are available, and I would note also that we will take additional actions as necessary to ensure that we act in our own self-defense and we deter further bad behavior from militia groups or from Iran," Esper told reporters.

Fox News' Mike Arroyo, Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.