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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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U.S. Strike Kills al-Qaeda-Affiliated Militants Following Attack


omali Al-Shebab fighters as they gathered on Feb. 13, 2012 in Elasha Biyaha, after a demonstration to support the merger of Al-shebab and the Al-Qaeda network. | Image by Getty Images

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Two members of an allegedly al-Qaeda-affiliated group were reportedly killed in a U.S. airstrike in Somalia, marking the first significant American military action in the East African nation since President Joe Biden ordered Special Operations Forces back to Somalia in May.

U.S. Africa Command issued a statement regarding the strike:

“In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Libikus, Somalia, July 17, 2022.”

In May, due to both the Pentagon and the White House’s belief that the Islamist al-Shabaab organization posed an escalating threat in the region, Biden signed an order allowing the military to deploy hundreds of Special Operations forces inside Somalia.

The action contradicted a decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw nearly all 700 ground troops who had previously been stationed there.

Trump’s decision was reportedly not intended to represent the end of U.S. involvement in Somalia. Instead, the Trump administration envisioned that U.S. troops would be able to conduct agile, short-term operations or long-distance strikes as necessary.

“The command’s initial assessment is that … no civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of where this engagement occurred,” U.S. Africa Command stated.

“The Federal Government of Somalia and U.S. Africa Command take great measures to prevent civilian casualties,” according to the statement. “These efforts contrast with the indiscriminate attacks that al-Shabaab regularly conducts against the civilian population.”

The Pentagon has previously come under fire for allegedly underreporting or failing to promptly record civilian fatalities.

Despite the conflict in Ukraine and the growing attention paid to “great power” competition with China and Russia, the recent strike in Somalia suggests the United States still views terrorist organizations as a potent danger in particular regions of the world, according to Bloomberg.    

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