US airstrike kills 13 al-Shabaab militants in Somalia

The U.S. military says a December 24 airstrike in southern Somalia has killed 13 al-Shabab militants.

According to a statement by the U.S. Africa Command, the strike was carried out Sunday morning about 50 kilometers (31 miles) northwest of Kismayo with help from the Somali government.

“In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab militants on the morning of Dec. 24, 2017, in southern Somalia, killing 13 militants,” the statement said.

“The strike targeted the militants as they mobilized to launch an attack against our base. Fortunately, the military from a friendly nation disabled them with a drone strike and killed 13 of them,” a Somali military commander in the area told VOA.

The United States has carried out about 30 airstrikes against al-Shabab this year after the Trump administration expanded military efforts against Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group.

“U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect the United States, its partners, and interests, and deny safe haven to terrorist groups,” the statement added.

Al-Shabab has been blamed for the October truck bombing in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, that killed 512 people.