The U.S. military conducted six airstrikes against Somali extremists over the weekend, warding off a major planned terror attack by al-Shabab.
Sixty-two extremist al-Shabab rebels were killed in the strikes on Gandarshe, which were conducted in coordination with the Somalian government, the Associated Press reported. The U.S. military said it carried out four strikes on Saturday that killed 34 people and another two strikes on Sunday that killed 28 more.
BREAKING: US military carries out 6 airstrikes in Somalia against al-Shabab extremist rebels, 62 killed.
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 17, 2018
The attacks were “conducted to prevent al-Shabab from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire and recruit for future attacks,” the military said, while an anonymous Somali intelligence official said the airstrikes thwarted an “imminent attack.”
The official said the al-Shabab fighters were preparing a major attack on a Somali government military base.
Al-Shabab, which is allied with al-Qaida and is working to implement Shariah law in Somalia, has long used the Gandarshe region to launch attacks against its enemies.
The U.S. military said no civilians were killed in the attacks.
Similar U.S. airstrikes in October knocked out an estimated 60 al-Shabab extremists in Harardere and was the largest airstrike against the group in just under a year.
As United States African Command officials explained:
Alongside our Somali and international partners, we are committed to preventing al-Shabaab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia. In particular, the group uses portions of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists.