US conducts strike operation in self-defense against al-Shabaab in Somalia

Posted on: July 5th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Digital Vision/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. conducted a strike operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia on Tuesday, according to the U.S. military.

The U.S., which supports the Somali forces and their partners, struck in self-defense from a concentration of al-Shabaab fighters about 300 miles southwest of Mogadishu, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a statement.

“Al-Shabaab has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and is dedicated to providing safe haven for terrorist attacks throughout the world,” AFRICOM said. “Al-Shabaab has publicly committed to planning and conducting attacks against the U.S. and our allies.”

Tuesday’s strike was different than the two offensive strike operations conducted on June 11 and July 2 that were carried out under the new authorities granted by President Donald Trump in late March.

Those authorities temporarily designate portions of Somalia south and west of Mogadishu to be an active area of hostilities, which means the U.S. can conduct offensive airstrikes. Until that authority was granted, the U.S. could only conduct strikes in self-defense, like the one carried out Tuesday, in support of Somali troops and their U.S. advisers.

A U.S. official told ABC News that the July 2 drone strike targeted one individual.

While the Pentagon has not commented on who that is, local media have identified the target as Ibrahim Haji Daud, a senior al-Shabaab commander and leader of the group’s intelligence unit.

The U.S. has about 50 service members in Somalia — advising and assisting members of the Somali military in their fight against al-Shabaab.

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