United States Africa Command Announces It Killed 17 Terrorists In Somalia

(Photo by HASSAN ALI ELMI/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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The United States Africa Command announced Friday that it killed 17 al-Shabaab terrorists in remote Somalia in a strike conducted Wednesday.

U.S. Africa Command said it was assisting Somali National Army forces, which were engaged with the al-Shabaab fighters nearly 300 kilometers northeast of the capital, Mogadishu. Initial assessments indicated the strike killed 17 fighters and no civilians.

The U.S. characterized the strike as a “collective self-defense strike” made at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia. U.S. Africa Command said Somalia remains key to regional security and that it will continue to aid Somali forces going forward. It also called al-Shabaab the deadliest Al-Qaida network in the world.

Former President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. military to remove a majority of the 7,000 U.S. troops remaining in Somalia in December 2020, leaving behind a small force to assist the fight against al-Shabaab. (RELATED: Car Bombings In Mogadishu Leave At Least 100 Dead, Hundreds More Injured, Officials Say)

President Joe Biden accepted a request from the Department of Defense in May 2022 to redeploy additional troops to Somalia. Experts say the U.S. has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in the country since the late 2000s, and only three U.S. personnel have died as a part of operations there during that time. Nonprofit watchdog Airwars estimates the U.S. has killed 78 to 153 civilians in the country via drone strikes.