A U.S. airstrike against the al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist organization al-Shabaab killed at least four jihadists on Sunday, a day after a terror attack in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu killed at least 79 people.
The operation was announced by the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM) on Monday morning.
“In coordination with the federal government of Somalia, US Africa Command conducted three airstrikes in two locations targeting al-Shabab militants in the vicinity of Qunyo Barrow and Caliyoow Barrow, Somalia, respectively, December 29,” AFRICOM said in a statement.
The strikes came a day after 79 people were killed in a car bomb explosion in what was the deadliest attack Somalia since 2017, when two separate truck bombings left 512 people dead and around 295 injured.
“Since al-Shabab’s first external attack in 2010, the group has ruthlessly killed hundreds,” added AFRICOM’s director of operations, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William. “They have attacked and killed African partners, allies, and fellow Americans.”
The attack has massively increased pressure on Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who previously claimed that the security situation is improving as a result of increased security personnel and surveillance. In a video message posted on Twitter, he condemned the attack as a “heinous act of terror.”
“This dark day has robbed our nation of dozens of innocent lives, the perpetrators of this heinous act of terror will never dim the spirits of the people of Somalia,” he wrote on Twitter. “Let’s join hands in countering this evil in our midst. Let’s move fast and help out the survivors.”
This dark day has robbed our nation of dozens of innocent lives, the perpetrators of this heinous act of terror will never dim the spirits of the people of Somalia. Let's join hands in countering this evil in our midst. Let’s move fast and help out the survivors. pic.twitter.com/Ii9lBTXpGy
— Mohamed Farmaajo (@M_Farmaajo) December 28, 2019
No organization has come forward to claim the attack, which took place in the capital of Mogadishu, where al-Shabaab was forced out in 2011. However, the group continues to target the city with car bombings and other terrorist activities that have claimed hundreds of lives.
The number of U.S. airstrikes has risen significantly in recent years after President Donald Trump declared southern Somalia an “area of active hostilities.” In April, AFRICOM revealed that they had killed over 800 suspected militants in 110 airstrikes in Somalia since April 2017.
In October, the U.S. reopened its embassy in Mogadishu nearly three decades after the country descended into a state of civil war. Former President George H.W Bush closed the U.S. embassy in 1991 following the overthrow of then-President Siad Barre’s military regime, which led to decades of civil war and unrest. There has been a thaw in diplomatic relations in recent years, and the U.S. recognized the Somali federal government in 2013.