US airstrike against ISIS in Somalia kills one militant

US airstrike against ISIS in Somalia kills one militant
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U.S. forces carried out an airstrike against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Somalia on Monday, killing one fighter, U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said in a news release.

The strike, which was coordinated with the Somali government, happened in the country’s northeast at about 3 p.m. local time, according to Africom.

“U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect U.S. citizens and to disable terrorist threats,” the release said. “This includes partnering with [the African Union Mission in Somalia] and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) in combined counterterrorism operations and targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region.

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“Our political and security goals in Somalia are the same: a reconstituted Somali state at peace internally and able to address all threats within its territory.”

The release provided no additional details of the strike.

U.S. forces have stepped up airstrikes in Somalia in recent weeks, carrying out at least six this month and at least 30 since the start of the year. A strike last week against al-Shabaab killed more than 100 militants, according to Africom. 

U.S. forces have been helping local forces fight the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab for years. U.S. airstrikes against al-Shabaab have increased this year after President Trump granted a request from Africom to give commanders more authority to conduct airstrikes and raids against al-Shabaab without high-level, interagency reviews.

The beginning of November also saw U.S. forces target ISIS in Somalia for the first time.

The ISIS-linked fighters split off from al-Shabaab and have been posing a growing threat in Puntland. In May, ISIS claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing there, its first in Somalia.

U.S. officials and lawmakers have warned in recent weeks that the fight against ISIS is poised to move into Africa as the terrorist group loses its last footholds in Iraq and Syria.