60 killed in largest US airstrike against al-Shabaab in Somalia since 2017

U.S. Africa Command said it carried out a large airstrike against al-Shabaab militants in eastern Somalia, killing approximately 60 militants.

The October 12 airstrike in the vicinity of Harardere “was the largest airstrike against al-Shabaab since November 21, 2017, when U.S. forces conducted an airstrike against an al-Shabaab camp killing approximately 100 terrorists,” Africom said in a Tuesday, October 16 press release.

“We also currently assess this airstrike did not injure or kill any civilians,” the command added.

Africom first announced the airstrike on October 13, saying it was still assessing the results.

A second airstrike near Araara on October 14 killed four al-Shabaab fighters after Somali forces came under small arms fire, Africom said on Monday. No U.S. service personnel were on the ground during that operation, according to the command.

The October 12 strike was the fourth this month across Somalia. An October 6 strike near Kunyo Barrow in the Lower Shabelle is believed to have killed one al-Shabaab fighter.

The previous strike on October 1 was in response to an al-Shabaab attack on Somali government forces about 40 kilometers northeast of Kismayo in Lower Juba Province. That strike killed nine suspected militants and injured another.

Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Mogadishu, but has also carried out attacks in neighboring Kenya, which has deployed troops as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia.

Africom works with AMISOM on both advise-and-assist missions as well as air support missions to target al-Shabaab’s forces, but has drawn controversy from strikes that have killed civilians.

Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab said on October 10 that it killed five men who were spying for the Somali, U.K. and U.S. governments.

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