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US military conducts strike on al-Shabaab leaders, 5 militants killed

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In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, US military’s Africa Command forces conducted an airstrike in the vicinity of Saaxa Weyne, Somalia on Thursday, January 7.

Initial assessments by Africa command indicate the strike killed five al-Shabaab members including the targeted al-Shabaab leaders. 

The US military on Friday said that its forces working with the Somali National Army killed five top al-Shabaab leaders in a joint airstrike in the vicinity of the Saaxa Weyne region. Photo: Africa Command.

The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation. 

In a statement, the US military said one of the slain al-Shabaab leaders was involved in an attack on the US and Somalian military forces.

“This strike targeted known al-Shabaab leaders who facilitated finance, weapons, fighters, and explosives. One is suspected of being involved in a previous attack against U.S. and Somali forces,” said US Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force – Quartz commander.

“Our continued disruption of al-Shabaab through persistent strikes shows our ongoing commitment to our partners.”

Joint Task Force – Quartz operations support U.S. Africa Command and international efforts that promote a peaceful and stable Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to US and regional interests.

READ ALSO: Boni Forest: KDF kills 3 al-Shabaab militants in raid

 Speaking to Somali state television, Somali army chief Gen. Odowa Yusuf Rage said that eight top al-Shabaab leaders were killed in the airstrike, including area militant boss Mukhtar Nurow.

The Somalia-based al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab militant group is yet to comment on the US airstrike.

Last week two airstrikes killed three members of the extremist group and destroyed six buildings in their compound.

In December President Donald Trump ordered the removal of about 800 troops from Somalia, a move expected to be complete when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated later this month.

At the end of December the USS Nimitz Strike Group pulled into position near Somalia last week to protect the troop withdrawal.

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