US army says at least 24 al-Shabab members killed in air strike

The strike took place on a camp near Shebeeley, Hiran in central Somalia, US Africa Command said.

    Al-Shabab continues to hold parts of the country's south and central regions after being chased out of Mogadishu [File: Mowlid Abdi/Reuters]
    Al-Shabab continues to hold parts of the country's south and central regions after being chased out of Mogadishu [File: Mowlid Abdi/Reuters]

    The United States armed forces said it has killed 24 members of the al-Shabab armed group in an air strike carried out on Wednesday.

    In a statement released on Thursday, the United States Africa Command said the strike took place on a camp near Shebeeley, Hiran region in central Somalia.

    "Precision strikes are part of our strategy. Strikes continue to help our partners make progress in their fight against the transnational terrorists who oppose peace in Somalia and the region," Director of US Africa Command Major General Gregg Olson said in the statement.

    According to the press release, "no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike".

    The al-Shabab group is yet to respond to the claims. 

    The US carries out regular air raids in Somalia in support of a UN-backed government, which has been fighting against an al-Shabab rebellion for years. 

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    Last year, at least 45 air raids were carried out by US armed forces, up from 35 in 2017.

    Despite these raids, al-Shabab continues to hold parts of the country's south and central regions after being chased out of Mogadishu several years ago.

    The group, estimated at several thousand fighters, still carries out deadly attacks against high-profile targets such as hotels and checkpoints in Somalia and abroad.

    Two weeks ago suspected members of al-Shabab carried out an attack on the upscale hotel dusitD2 hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

    A total of 21 people were killed in that attack, which lasted for two days. 

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    Shortly after the siege ended, Kenyan security forces raided premises and picked up suspects.

    At least 11 people have been taken into custody in connection with the attack.

    Nairobi announced days later that private security officers guarding public spaces such as malls, supermarkets and private premises, would be given guns for the first time.

    The government said they would be given six months of intensive and compulsory training before being issued with firearms.

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News