US strike in Somalia kills 35 ‘terrorists’: Pentagon
AFP•February 25, 2019
Washington (AFP) – US forces have conducted an air strike in Somalia that killed 35 Al-Shabaab militants, officials said Monday, in the latest in a string of attacks against the Al-Qaeda affiliate.
Sunday’s strike took place in the Hiran region of central Somalia and targeted armed Shabaab fighters “as they were transitioning between locations in a rural area” and trying to “mass their forces,” the US military’s Africa Command said in a statement.
“At this time, it is assessed this air strike killed 35 terrorists,” the statement read.
Although the military did not specify, such air strikes in Somalia are typically carried out by armed drones.
The Pentagon has increased the rate of strikes in Somalia in recent years, partly because President Donald Trump loosened constraints on when the US military can take action against alleged terrorists.
Shabaab fighters were pushed out of Somalia’s capital in 2011, and subsequently from other towns and cities, by African Union troops.
But the Islamists still hold sway in large parts of the countryside.