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US strikes 'Islamic State' fighters in Somalia

November 3, 2017

"Several terrorists" were killed in two airstrikes by the United States on IS jihadis in Somalia. This is the first time the US has carried out such strikes in the country, where the militant group is a growing presence.

A US drone
Image: picture alliance / dpa

The United States military said on Friday "several terrorists" were killed in two drone strikes against "Islamic State" (IS) fighters in northeastern Somalia.

The US Africa command said the strikes were carried out in coordination with Somalia's government.

Moments before US officials confirmed the airstrikes, US President Donald Trump told reporters the US military was attacking IS "10 times harder" in response to Tuesday's New York City truck attack.

It was not immediately clear if the airstrikes in Somalia were carried out by Trump.

The airstrikes, which were confirmed by Somali authorities, may have targeted top leaders of the group, a Somali security official told the Associated Press.

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Growing presence

The jihadi group has been gaining ground in the northern Somali state of Puntland, though there is no clarity on the scale of its force.

In May, the group claimed to have carried out a deadly bombing in the state that killed at least four people. It was the first time the militant group had claimed an attack in Somalia.

But IS remains a much smaller player compared to al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabab terrorist group, which was blamed for carrying out Somalia's worst terrorist attack last month. At least 350 were killed in the massive truck bombing in Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab militants have been the target of over a dozen US drone strikes after the Trump administration approved expanded efforts against the group.

ap/rt (AP, Reuters)

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