U.S. Africa Command killed several militants loyal to al-Qaida’s Somalian affiliate Thursday in the latest sign of escalation in the air war against the terror group.
— US AFRICOM (@USAfricaCommand) November 9, 2017
Al-Shabab has stepped up its operations in recent years with several high-profile terrorist attacks. The group is responsible for one of the largest suicide truck bombings in history, which killed more than 300 civilians in October.
The group’s renewed pace of operations prompted the Trump administration to dramatically escalate U.S. military troops helping the country’s military. The troop escalation marks an increase of four-fold since President Donald Trump took office and reflects growing U.S. concern over the robust al-Shabab in Somalia.
Trump has similarly escalated aerial operations against al-Shabab since taking office by designating the country an “area of active hostilities,” which allows U.S. military commanders greater latitude in deciding what targets to strike.
U.S. troops in Somalia are now both engaged in operational support missions and train, advise, and assist for the Somalian National Army. They also provide planning and assistance in intelligence operations. Approximately half of the U.S. forces are special operators accompanying the Somalian army outside the capital on missions to provide advice and some assistance.
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