As airstrikes ramp up against terrorist groups around the globe, the U.S. military says it conducted a drone strike Sunday in Somalia against Al Qaeda’s third largest affiliate, al-Shabab.
In late March, President Trump allowed the Pentagon to begin offensive airstrikes in Somalia. The strike this weekend was the second under this new authority.
One of the reasons the U.S. military asked for more power to launch airstrikes is the US-backed African Union troops will begin leaving Somalia next year as al-Shabab expands inside the country. A new famine has also spread in Somalia affecting up to six million people.
Earlier this year, a small group of U.S. forces deployed to Somalia for the first time since they pulled out in 1994.
In May, Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken was killed fighting alongside Somalia forces in a raid against al-Shabab.
“On July 2, at approximately 7:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, U.S. forces conducted a kinetic strike operation against al-Shabab, an Al Qaeda associated terrorist group. We are currently assessing the results of the operation, and will provide additional information as appropriate. U.S. forces remain committed to supporting the Federal Government of Somalia, the Somali National Army and our AMISOM partners in defeating al-Shabab and establishing a safe and secure environment in Somalia," the Pentagon said.
Some ISIS affiliated fighters have also appeared in Somalia. Nearby in Yemen, the U.S. military has conducted more than 80 airstrikes against Al Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, since President Trump took office, doubling the average over the past five years.