Somalia: US military says attack kills nine al-Shabab fighters

Washington says it carried out an air raid west of the Somali capital, Mogadishu killing nine fighters.

    Somalia: US military says attack kills nine al-Shabab fighters
    Al-Shabab is fighting to topple the Somali government and wants to impose a strict version of Islamic law in the country [Hamza Mohamed/Al Jazeera]

    The United States military said it killed nine fighters in an air attack targeting al-Shabab fighters in Lebede, Somalia, as part of its operations to support the government's efforts to weaken the armed group.

    The military's Africa Command (Africom) said the attack was carried out on Friday. "We currently assess this air strike killed nine militants with no civilians involved," Africom said in a statement late on Saturday.

    The statement gave no details on those killed.

    US military involvement in Somalia has grown since President Donald Trump approved expanded operations against al-Shabab early in his term.

    Washington currently has about 500 military personnel in the Horn of Africa nation and carries out periodic air raids in support of the UN-backed government there.

    The US has carried out at least 37 air raids this year against the al-Qaeda-linked group, one of Africa's deadliest rebel groups, which continues to stage attacks in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, and other cities.

    The group killed at least 15 people, including a Sufi Muslim leader, in a suicide explosion in the central town of Galkayo last Friday.

    Al-Shabab was pushed out of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in recent years but continues to control rural areas in the south and central regions.

     

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies