Defense officials on Wednesday claimed a U.S. airstrike against al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia killed 13 militants, the deadliest such strike against the extremist group in months.
The airstrike targeted the al Qaeda-linked fighters on Sunday in a remote location near Teedaan, in Somalia’s central region, as the militants were “actively attacking Somali National Army forces,” according to a statement from U.S. Africa Command (Africom).
The command’s initial assessment found that no civilians were injured or killed as part of the strikes, the statement claimed.
This is the second U.S. military strike in Somalia within a week. Africom on Aug. 9 conducted three airstrikes outside Beledweyne — also in support of the Somali National Army — that killed four al-Shabaab terrorists.
“The Federal Government of Somalia and the U.S. remain committed to fighting al-Shabaab to prevent the deaths of innocent civilians,” the statement notes. “Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to Somali, regional and U.S. interests.”
The strikes follow President Biden’s May decision to redeploy up to 500 U.S. troops in East Africa to Somalia as the administration looks to reestablish a small presence in the country to counter al-Shabaab, al Qaeda’s largest and best-financed global affiliate.