A US airstrike in Somalia on Saturday killed an al-Shabaab militant leader in coordination with the Somali government, US Africa Command said in a statement.
The United States said the initial assessment of the strike was that an al-Shabaab militant leader was killed and there were no civilian casualties.
Although the statement did not identify the militant, Somalia’s Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism said on Twitter that an operation on Saturday with international partners killed Abdullahi Nadir.
In late September, a US airstrike in Somalia killed 27 al-Shabaab members, the US said, as part of increased support for the Somali government following President Joe Biden’s decision in May to to approve the redeployment of American troops to the east. African nation.
“Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proven both its willingness and ability to attack U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests” , said Africa Command.
In December 2020, then-President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of US forces from Somalia in the final days of his administration. But a senior Biden administration official called the pullout “brutal and sudden,” and al-Shabaab has only gone from strength to strength since then.
In May this year, Biden approved a Pentagon request to redeploy fewer than 500 troops to Somalia in consultation with the Somali government.
The United States has carried out several strikes against al-Shabaab since the approval, but until the most recent airstrikes the operations were explicitly aimed at defending Somali government forces. Africa Command said the strikes were directed against al-Shabaab militants attacking Somali forces, and that the US response was “in defense of designated partner forces”.
But Saturday’s strike was a specific targeted operation against an al-Shabaab leader.
Africa Command said it would “continue to take action to prevent this malicious terrorist group from planning and carrying out attacks against civilians.”