About 30 al-Shabab fighters were killed in a U.S. airstrike in Somalia, U.S. Africa Command said in a statement Saturday.
U.S. forces “conducted a collective self-defense strike” on Friday in support of Somali National Army forces “engaged in heavy fighting following a complex, widespread, intense attack by more than 100 al-Shabaab fighters,” the statement said, referring to a link with al-Qaeda. organized terrorist organizations.
A U.S. defense official said there were no U.S. troops on the ground when the strike occurred.
The attack took place about 260 kilometers northeast of the Somali capital Mogadishu, near Galkad. U.S. Africa Command assessed that there were no civilian casualties due to the remote location.
The U.S. has been providing support to the Somali government since President Joe Biden approved a Pentagon request to redeploy U.S. troops to the region in May 2022 to fight terrorist groups. The approval to send fewer than 500 troops comes in response to former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country in 2020.
“Somalia remains at the heart of stability and security throughout East Africa. U.S. Africa Command forces will continue to train, advise and equip partner forces to help them gain the tools they need to defeat al-Shabaab, the world’s largest and deadliest al-Qaeda network,” the U.S. military said in a statement Saturday.
In recent months, the US military has carried out numerous attacks in the area, resulting in dozens of al-Shabaab casualties.
In October, U.S. forces killed two al-Shabab members in an airstrike some 218 kilometers north-northwest of Mogadishu. A subsequent November attack killed 17 Al-Shabaab fighters some 285 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu. In late December, another US airstrike killed six al-Shabab militants near the city of Kadar, about 150 miles northeast of the capital.