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AFRICOM: US Airstrike in Somalia Kills 2 Militants

FILE - An unmanned U.S. Predator drone armed with a missile is seen standing on the tarmac.
FILE - An unmanned U.S. Predator drone armed with a missile is seen standing on the tarmac.

A U.S. airstrike in southern Somalia this week killed two al-Shabab militants and wounded three others, according to the U.S. Africa Command.

AFRICOM said in a statement Wednesday that the attack took place near the town of Mubarak, a small agricultural town southwest of the capital, Mogadishu. Most U.S. airstrikes in Somalia occur in the region.

AFRICOM did not identify the individuals targeted in the Monday morning strike but said it was conducted in coordination with the federal government of Somalia. It also said one vehicle was destroyed in the operation.

The attack was the sixth airstrike conducted by the U.S. in Somalia this year. The attacks have killed 17 militants in total.

Recently, U.S. strikes have increasingly targeted low-level al-Shabab operatives who are involved in smuggling weapons, bombers and vehicle-borne explosive devices into the main cities, such as Mogadishu.

The first airstrike this year on January 2 destroyed one of al-Shabab's car bombs, according to AFRICOM.

The deputy governor of the Lower Shabelle region, Abdifatah Haji Abdulle, told VOA Somali that they are still assessing Monday's strike in order to identify those targeted. He told VOA Somali that the occupants were al-Shabab officials but said details will be released after assessment is completed.

Abdulle also told VOA Somali that Somali security forces captured two al-Shabab militants in the nearby town of Awdhegle following an operation in the early hours of Tuesday.

He identified the two as Abdikarim Abu Hamza, who is said to be a finance officer in charge of collecting taxes for al-Shabab in Mogadishu, Middle Shabelle and Lower Shabelle regions; and an Amniyat operative named Sheikh Mudey.

Amniyat are al-Shabab’s elite forces tasked with intelligence gathering, assassinations and explosions.