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Somalia government confirms killing of IS commander in Puntland

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The Somali government on Monday confirmed the killing of the deputy leader of the Islamic State (IS) group in northern Somalia by U.S. and local security forces.

"Somali security forces in coordination with the U.S. forces have killed a high-ranking commander of the Daesh (IS) terrorist group in a raid in Hiriro neighborhood, Iskushuban, Bari province," the ministry of information said.

Security official said two IS militants, including its deputy leader, Abdihakim Mohamed Ibrahim, were killed in the strike.

The identity of the other IS fighter was not established.

Pro-IS militants split from al-Shabab in October 2015 and later occupied Qandala, a key location in Bari region under Puntland State Administration, in northern Somalia.

There was no immediate confirmation from the U.S. military, which has stepped up its military support for Somalia over the past few years.

Some strikes have inflicted considerable casualties on al-Shabab in recent months.


United States airstrike kills one terrorist in southern Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United States military said Wednesday its special forces conducted an airstrike in southern Somalia on Tuesday, killing one terrorist.

The U.S. Africa Command said the strike which was conducted in cooperation with Somali government near Jilib, Middle Juba Region did not kill or injure any civilians.

Somalia and U.S. forces have intensified incursions into the territory formerly controlled by al-Shabab after driving the insurgents out of Mogadishu in 2011.

Since 2017, the U.S. military has stepped up air raids against al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab controls large parts of rural southern and central Somalia and continues to carry out high-profile attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

United States airstrike kills two al-Shabab terrorists in southern Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United States army said on Friday that it conducted an airstrike in southern Somalia on Thursday, killing two al-Shabab terrorists and destroyed a motorcycle.

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a statement the strike which was carried out near Garowle in Lower Shabelle Region did not kill or injure any civilians.

"We continue to target and strike various levels of leadership within the al-Shabab network," Gregg Olson, AFRICOM’s director of operations said in the statement.

The strike is the latest in a series of similar missions by the U.S. forces in Somalia in collaboration with Somali and African Union forces in the Horn of Africa country.

The strikes have largely targeted al-Shabab figureheads based in southern Somalia where the group still maintains a strong grip in some regions.

United States military carries out 28 airstrikes in Somalia in 2019

MOGADISHU Somalia(Xinhua) -- The United States military said Friday it has conducted 28 airstrikes in Somalia in 2019 compared to 47 in 2018 and 35 in 2017 as part of increased efforts to degrade extremist group, al-Shabab.

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said its commander directed the review of the airstrikes conducted in Somalia since 2017 due to a recent increase in airstrikes and continued interest by human rights group and Congress on civilian casualties.

Africom which conducts military strikes in coordination with the Somali government said its review revealed that two civilians were killed in an airstrike on April 1, 2018.

"Credibility, transparency, and accountability are fundamental to military operations.

"It is critically important that people understand we adhere to exacting standards and when we fall short, we acknowledge shortcomings and take appropriate action," Thomas D. Waldhauser, Africom commander, said in a statement.

Waldhauser said the April 2018 airstrike was designed to degrade the al-Shabab terrorist group near El Burr, Somalia where four militants were also killed.

The U.S. military said it was notified about the results of a post-strike internal assessment conducted in April 2018 that found credible evidence of the two civilian casualties.

"Unfortunately, the finding was not properly reported to U.S. Africa Command headquarters," it said, adding that it committed to transparency in its reporting of civilian casualties.

"While believed to be an isolated occurrence, the reporting error is being addressed," it added, noting that the Somali government was notified of two civilian deaths.

Africom said it takes prudent measures to minimize civilian casualties and fully complies with the law of armed conflict, adding that it puts measures in place to ensure the safety and protection of the local population remains a top priority.



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