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US airstrike kills 13 Somalia ISIS fighters, AFRICOM says

A U.S. airstrike in has killed 13 Islamic State fighters in northern Somalia, U.S. Africa Command said Thursday.

The Wednesday, May 8 airstrike targeted an ISIS encampment in the Golis mountains, the Thursday press release said.

“We are supporting our Somali and AMISOM partners with increased, mature intelligence sharing,” said Rear Admiral Heidi Berg, U.S. Africa Command director of intelligence.

“There is a deliberate campaign underway, that is intelligence-driven, that capitalizes on what we learn during each operation and rapidly leveraging that information to drive the next operation, including discovering where terrorists may be training, massing, and preparing to commit atrocities.”

AFRICOM said it believed 13 ISIS fighters were killed in the airstrike, and no civilians were killed or injured.

The strike comes less than a month after the command said it carried out an airstrike that killed Abdulhakim Dhuqub, who it identified as the second-in-command of Islamic State in Somalia.

Update, May 10: On Friday, AFRICOM said it carried out another airstrike in the Golis mountains on Thursday, “targeting an ISIS-Somalia encampment” and killing four adherents.

Formed in October 2015, Abnaa ul-Calipha was recognized by ISIS central as an official wilayat, or province, in December 2017 and it was named Islamic State Somalia province.

The group operates in the semi-autonomous Puntland region of Somalia and is estimated to have around 300 active fighters. Abnaa ul-Calipha is a splinter group from al-Shabaab, and the latter has ordered the killing of defectors. U.S. Africa Command began carrying out airstrikes against the group in November 2017.

U.S. forces partner with Somali national security forces in counterterrorism operations, and have conducted frequent raids and drone strikes on al-Shabaab training camps throughout Somalia.

American strikes in Somalia surged in April 2017 after President Donald Trump declared southern Somalia an “area of active hostilities,” the rights group Amnesty International said last month.

Africom has carried out 30 airstrikes in Somalia in 2019, compared to 47 in 2018 and 35 in 2017.

With reporting from AFP

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