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U.S. airstrike kills 12 al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia

U.S. Africa Command killed at least 12 al-Shabaab fighters in an airstrike in Somalia, the agency said Sunday. File Photo courtesy of Michael B. Keller/UPI/U.S. Air Force
U.S. Africa Command killed at least 12 al-Shabaab fighters in an airstrike in Somalia, the agency said Sunday. File Photo courtesy of Michael B. Keller/UPI/U.S. Air Force | License Photo

Feb. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Africa Command killed at least 12 al-Shabaab fighters in an airstrike in Somalia, the agency said Sunday.

The attack took place Friday at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command said. The strike was focused at a remote location southwest of the city Hobyo. No civilians were killed, according to the report.

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"U.S. Africa Command provides support to the Somali government to address terrorist threats, but we are only part of the U.S. efforts there," said Gen. Michael Langley, AFRICOM commander.

"Our Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development colleagues have programs that help build resilience through education and training; develop agricultural diversity; improve markets and trade; and strengthen democracy and good governance."

The initial assessment of the strike found that 12 members of al-Shabaab were killed.

Al-Shabaab is the Somali Council of Islamic Courts military force and is a designated terrorist group by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. The group has maintained its insurgency in the southern region of Somalia since 2006.

The United States has stepped up its support of Somalia over the last year following a mass withdrawal of troops under former President Donald Trump in 2020.

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President Joe Biden has since sent 500 troops to the country following guidance from the Department of Defense, according to CNN.

Since al-Shabaab established itself in southern Somalia in 2006, the United States has contributed more than $3 billion in humanitarian assistance, according to the State Department.

The United States is also engaged in furthering economic stability and social reform in coordination with Somali officials like President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

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