President Joe Biden authorized his first airstrike in Somalia that took place on Tuesday.
“The US military command for Africa (AFRICOM), in coordination with the Somali government, ‘conducted one air strike in the vicinity of Galkayo, Somalia today against al-Shabaab,’ Pentagon spokeswoman Cindi King told AFP,” the outlet reported.
The location of the strike was 430 miles northeast of Mogadishu, and it targeted al-Shabaab Islamists, according to King.
She said a damage assessment was still being conducted.
The Somalian government confirmed the airstrike in a news release.
#UPDATE The Somali government has said that an airstrike was carried out on Al Shabaab. The attack took place in areas under Galmudug administration. Fighting between Somali forces and terrorist groups has been raging in the area in recent days. #Somalia https://t.co/6WEXDa9AUm
— GAROWE ONLINE (@GaroweOnline) July 20, 2021
According to the New York Post, “Al Shabaab is linked to al Qaeda, the terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden, and has long tried to overthrow Somalia’s government and obtain political control in the nation.”
The report added, “The US frequently targets members of the organization in airstrikes, but Tuesday’s operation was the first one since Biden had been sworn into office in January.”
The New York Times reported, “The strike came as the Biden administration was considering whether to reverse the U.S. military withdrawal from Somalia that took place under Mr. Trump.”
It added, “An interagency review, underway for several months, has not yet been completed, a U.S. official said. But under one option being considered, a smaller number of American troops would be redeployed to military bases in southern Somalia, near the border with Kenya, where Al Shabab’s influence is strongest.”
Al-Shabaab has been reportedly involved in several high-profile terrorist attacks. A suicide bomber killed nine people in Mogadishu earlier in July, according to The Guardian, and the terrorist group claimed responsibility.
“The convoy was carrying a senior police official, Farhan Mohamud, who survived the attack on Saturday,” the outlet reported.
“Al-Shabaab, which is linked to al-Qaida, has been fighting to overthrow Somalia’s federal government since 2007 and launches frequent attacks against the security forces as well as government and civilian targets,” it added.
AFP said, “The strike is the first conducted by the US military in Somalia since January 19, when AFRICOM announced it had killed three Shabaab jihadists in two strikes in Jamaame and Deb Scinnele.”
It added, “Biden was inaugurated the next day. As soon as he arrived at the White House, he limited the use of drones against jihadist groups outside US theaters of war.”
Biden has authorized drone strikes in the Middle East, including in Syria and Iraq.
The Somalia strike was the first time a strike has been authorized in Somalia during his term.
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