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AFRICOM: US Airstrike in Somalia Targets Al-Shabab

FILE - Members of Somalia's al-Shabab militant group patrol on foot on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, March 5, 2012.

A U.S. military airstrike Tuesday in Somalia killed three al-Shabab militants, according to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

The U.S. conducted numerous strikes in the same region of Qay Ad, near Dabad Shil, in Mudug region on November 19 and 20, killing 50 al-Shabab fighters.

Local sources told VOA Somali that the latest strike targeted al-Shabab vehicles. The sources say the vehicles belonged to Abdishakur Mohamed Mire, a junior al-Shabab military commander. There was no confirmation on whether Mire was traveling in one of the vehicles at the time.

Africa Command said Tuesday's airstrike did not "injure or kill any civilians."

The latest operation brings the number of U.S. strikes in Somalia this year to 36, all of them against al-Shabab. The figure marks the highest number of strikes ever conducted by the U.S. military within a single year in Somalia.

The U.S. says strikes are targeting al-Shabab militants, fighting positions, infrastructure and equipment.

"U.S. forces, in cooperation with the government of Somalia, are conducting ongoing counterterrorism operations against al-Shabab and ISIS-Somalia to degrade the groups' ability to recruit, train and plot terror attacks in Somalia and the region," U.S. Africa Command told VOA Somali in an emailed message. ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.

Several al-Shabab commanders have been killed in U.S. airstrikes over the years, including former emir Ahmed Abdi Godane on Sept. 1, 2014.

Al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaida, is trying to overthrow Somalia's government and turn the country into a strict Islamic state.