At least four al-Shabaab militants were killed in Somalia in an overnight raid conducted by U.S. and Somali commandos, The Associated Press reported Friday.
During the raid, American and Somali forces rescued children forcibly recruited by the extremist group, though it was not clear how many.
The operation came after Human Rights Watch accused al-Shabaab of conscripting hundreds of children into its ranks in recent months.
U.S. Africa Command (Africom) also said Friday it conducted an airstrike in support of the Somali federal government on Thursday that killed four al-Shabaab militants. No civilians were killed in the strike, Africom said in a statement.
"U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect U.S. citizens and to disable terrorist threats," the statement 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."
Africom said earlier this month it had conducted an airstrike in Somalia on Jan. 2 that killed two al-Shabaab militants and "destroying one vehicle-borne improvised explosive device."