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U.S. airstrikes kill 3 al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia

By
Jonna Lorenz
U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command, inspects an F-35B aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island during a multi-day engagement Jan. 16-18. Photo by MC2 Michael J. Lieberknecht/AFRICOM
U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command, inspects an F-35B aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island during a multi-day engagement Jan. 16-18. Photo by MC2 Michael J. Lieberknecht/AFRICOM

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. forces conducted two airstrikes on al-Shabaab operatives in Somalia, killing three members of the Islamist terrorist group, U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday.

No civilians were injured or killed in the airstrikes, conducted near Jamaame and Deb Scinnele in coordination with the government of Somalia, according to initial assessment, AFRICOM said in a statement.

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"These strikes targeted known al-Shabaab leaders involved in IED facilitation, fighter training and attack planning," U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson said in a statement.

"Striking these leaders disrupts al-Shabaab's ability to attack our partners and indiscriminately kill innocent civilians with improvised explosive devices. We are working closely with our Somali partners to support their operations against al-Shabaab, protect their people and provide governance," said Anderson, commander of Joint Task Force-Quartz.

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An airstrike Monday also destroyed one al-Shabaab compound near Tiyeeglow, AFRICOM said.

U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of AFRICOM, stressed AFRICOM's commitment to Somalia during a multi-day engagement in the country, which included a visit to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island.

"Al-Shabaab is a brutal enemy and a dangerous threat to America and Africa," Townsend said in an AFRICOM statement. "We continue to work closely with our partners to degrade al-Shabaab's ability to conduct operations and spread violence. America's and Africa's security depends on it."

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This week's airstrikes were the first since AFRICOM announced it had completed its withdrawal of troops from Somalia by Friday, Stars and Stripes reported.

In December, the Pentagon announced U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Somalia by early 2021.

Those forces, which have been involved in combating al-Shabaab, training local forces and protecting the Baledogle Airfield in southern Somalia were to be deployed elsewhere in East Africa.

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The airstrikes are the latest in a series of military operations against al-Shabaab operatives in Somalia.

On Jan. 7, five al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in an airstrike near Saaxa Weyne.

Three others were killed Jan. 1 in two airstrikes near Qunyo Barrow.

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In 2020, U.S. forces conducted at least 50 airstrikes against the extremist group, which has sought to overthrow Somalia's U.S.-backed government.

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