Aug. 11 (UPI) — The Pentagon conducted drone attacks on against Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants in Somalia this week, U.S. Africa Command said.
The two strikes, in which armed but unmanned aircraft hit targets in Somalia’s Banadiir region, were the first since President Donald Trump authorized expanded offensive operations against the militant group in March.
The order allows U.S. forces and coalition partners to “conduct lethal action against al-Shabab within a geographically-defined area of active hostilities,” the U.S. Africa Command said in a statement.
The United States has ramped up its military involvement in Somalia in recent months. In May, it announced the first death of a U.S. service member in combat in Somalia since 1993. Al-Shabab has been fighting since 2006 to install its version of Islamic law in the country.
Although no details on casualties were announced by the Pentagon, Somalia’s information ministry said an unidentified, “high-level” al-Shabab leader, responsible for prior assassinations and bombings, was killed in the strikes.