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The attacks kill several rebel fighters, as the U. S. amped up efforts to control Islamic State and al-Shabab groups.
MOGADISHU, Somalia — U. S. forces say they have carried out three drone strikes within 24 hours in Somalia, stepping up their campaign against the Islamic extremist rebels of al-Shabab and the Islamic State group.
The strikes by unmanned drones killed several extremist fighters, a spokeswoman for the U. S. military command in Africa told The Associated Press Sunday. With these three attacks, the U. S. has now carried out 26 attacks in Somalia against extremist targets in 2017, she said.
The latest U. S. strikes were carried out in coordination with Somalia’s government, she said.
The first strike happened Saturday at approximately 4:30 p.m. local Somalia time and it killed one fighter for the extremists group, al-Shabab, said a U. S. Africa command statement. The strike occurred near Gaduud, about 250 miles southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, it said.
The U. S. strike came after al-Shabaab attacked a convoy of U. S. and Somali forces, it said.
“We assess no civilians were anywhere near the site,” said the spokeswoman. “We take all measures during the targeting process to painstakingly ensure that civilian casualties and collateral damages are avoided and that we comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict.”
The second strike occurred Sunday at approximately 3 a.m. against al-Shabaab, in the Lower Shabelle region about 40 miles west of the capital Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab has been blamed for the massive truck bombing in Mogadishu last month that killed more than 350 people. It was Somalia’s worst-ever attack and one of the world’s deadliest in years.
The third strike was against the Islamic State group in Somalia’s northern Puntland area, the U. S. spokeswoman said. It happened at about 9 a.m. Sunday.
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