US Conducts Airstrike Against ISIS Terrorists in Somalia

July 22, 2020 Updated: July 22, 2020

The U.S. military announced it carried out an airstrike against ISIS terrorists in Somalia on Tuesday, saying the fighters had recently targeted local forces.

“U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against ISIS-Somalia terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Timirshe, Somalia, July 21,” the command, known as AFRICOM, said in a statement on Wednesday.

It added that “when this airstrike occurred, U.S. forces were in the area in order to advise and assist Somali and partner forces.” The force said it conducted the airstrike in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia.

It was not immediately clear whether American military personnel was involved in the incident.

AFRICOM noted that at least seven ISIS terrorists were killed in the strike. No civilians were killed or injured in the strike.

“We continue to apply pressure on terrorist groups and assist our Somali partners in disrupting their operations,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, with AFRICOM, in a news release. “We continue our support to rid Somalia of the likes of ISIS and al-Shabaab.” Al-Shabaab is an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist network that has carried out numerous attacks over the past two decades, namely in Somalia and Kenya.

U.S. forces were in the area to assist and advise Somalia forces, according to the statement, which added that ISIS and al-Shabaab have used propaganda to incite and intimidate locals.

“Mistruths and lies are the terrorist weapons of choice,” said Col. Chris Karns, with AFRICOM. “ISIS-Somalia and al-Shabaab have bankrupt narratives and visions of the future. Our partnership to unmask and degrade the capability of these terrorists is essential to security and stability in Somalia.”

ISIS in Somalia is reportedly active around the northeastern Puntland region of Somalia. The last confirmed U.S.-led airstrike against ISIS in the country occurred last October.

Meanwhile, the United States has approximately 500 troops in the country.

Earlier this month, AFRICOM confirmed an airstrike in a different region of Somalia, targeting al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group al-Shabaab.

“Al-Shabaab are using checkpoints to threaten, extort, and restrict the movement of innocent people in Mogadishu and Lower Shabelle region,” U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Bradford Gering, the director of operations for Africa Command, known as AFRICOM, said in a statement in confirming the airstrike. “Al-Shabaab’s actions continue to impede much needed economic development and progress.”

AFRICOM said there were no civilian casualties caused in the incident. It’s not clear if a drone was used to conduct the strike, as is often the case in the region.