BOSASO—A U.S. air strike killed three ISIS terrorists in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region on Friday, April 26, a U.S. military official said, two weeks after the group’s deputy leader was killed in a strike.
A witness said missiles struck two wells on the outskirts of Timirshe village, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of Puntland’s commercial capital Bosaso.
The U.S. military has sharply stepped up its campaign of air strikes in Somalia since President Donald Trump took office, saying it has killed more than 800 terrorists in two years.
“This air strike eliminated ISIS-Somalia members staged in a remote location in northern Somalia,” Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) director of operations, said in an emailed statement on Saturday.
AFRICOM also claimed responsibility for the killing of ISIS deputy Abdulhakim Dhuqub on April 14.
Somalia has been riven by civil war and extremist terrorism since 1991 when clan warlords overthrew a dictator before turning on each other.
“We heard the crash of four missiles on the outskirts of Timirshe village,” resident Ahmed Nur told Reuters by telephone.
He said the wells were used by both ISIS and their more powerful rivals al Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate who has been fighting Somalia’s U.N.-backed government for years.
— US AFRICOM (@USAfricaCommand) April 27, 2019
Al Shabaab was pushed out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011, but retains a strong presence in parts of southern and central Somalia.
It has frequently clashed with the much smaller ISIS force in the north who are thought to number fewer than 200 terrorists.
A Puntland intelligence official said the airstrike targeted both groups.
“There are casualties and we are investigating. In recent battles al Shabaab captured three bases from ISIS,” he told Reuters by telephone, requesting anonymity.
By Abdiqanai Hassan