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US Airstrike Targets 'High-Ranking' Al-Shabab Commander

Map of Somalia
Map of Somalia

The Somali government has reported that a high-ranking al-Shabab commander in the south of the country was targeted in collaboration with the United Sates military.

Somali Information Minister Daud Aweis said in a post that the operation “aimed to neutralize the terrorist leader in charge for orchestrating terror attacks.”

The Somali government said the strike occurred in the Middle Jubba region on December 17. The militant commander has not been identified.

The United States military command in Africa, known as AFRICOM, confirmed to VOA the accuracy of the report of the Somali government.

The last time a U.S. airstrike targeted a senior al-Shabab commander was in May when the head of the radical militant group’s external operations, Moallim Osman, was injured in the strike. Osman is accused of overseeing the recruitment of foreign fighters to Somalia to help with al-Shabab's ongoing battle against the Somali government.

The United States trains an elite Somali unit, donates weapons to the Somali forces and conducts airstrikes against al-Shabab — which has been fighting the Somali government and African Union peacekeeping forces for more than one-and-a-half decades.

The Somali government has vowed to root out the group. The militants aim to establish a government based on their interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law.