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US Airstrikes Target Al-Shabab in Somalia


FILE - Hundreds of al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area 18 kilometers south of Mogadishu, Somalia, Feb. 17, 2017.

U.S. forces conducted an airstrike against al-Shabab in Somalia on Thursday, killing "several militants," according to the U.S. military.

The drone strike hit targets in the Bay Region of Somalia, about 160 kilometers west of the capital, Mogadishu, Pentagon spokeswoman Audricia Harris told VOA.

No civilians were killed in the strike, Harris said.

According to a statement from U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), the strike occurred about 3 p.m. local time in Somalia in coordination with the Somali government.

"U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats," AFRICOM said.

The strike came less than a week after U.S. airstrikes targeted Islamic State fighters in the country's north.

Jama Mohamed Qurshe, the chairman of the town of Qandala, told VOA Somali that the U.S. strikes last Friday hit a base for IS militants at Buqa village, about 60 kilometers south of his town, in the semiautonomous region of Puntland.

An AFRICOM official told VOA those two strikes killed "fewer than five" IS fighters. They were the first U.S. airstrikes against IS militants in Somalia.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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