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US airstrikes kill 13 al-Shabab militants in Somalia

Al-Shabab continues to pose a deadly threat despite increased US airstrikes [AFP]

Date of publication: 3 February, 2019

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US Africa Command has said that 13 al-Shabab militants were killed in airstrikes outside Somalia's capital on Friday.

At least 13 al-Shabab fighters were killed in airstrikes outside Somalia's capital of Mogadishu, the US army said on Saturday.

US Africom said in a statement that that the air raid took place in Gandarshe, 48km south of Mogadishu, on Friday.

"To support the Federal Government of Somalia's continued efforts to degrade al-Shabab, US Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabab fighters in the vicinity of Gandarshe, Lower Shebelle Region, Somalia, on February 1, 2019," the statement said.

"US Africa Command currently assesses this airstrike killed thirteen (13) militants. At this time, it was assessed no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike."

A day earlier, a US army airstrike killed 24 al-Shabab fighters in the neighbouring Hiran region.

Friday's air raid was the 10th carried out by the US in Somalia this year, where it has targeting the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants.

Last year, the US carried out at least 48 attacks in the Horn of Africa country, killing more than 330 fighters, according to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Al-Shabab, the most active extremist group in sub-Saharan Africa, was pushed out of Somalia's capital years ago but continues to control large parts of rural southern and central Somalia.

Despite a significant increase in US airstrikes against al-Shabab under the Trump administration, the group has maintained a presence and carried out deadly attacks against civilians and military personnel.

Last month, al-Shabab militants killed 21 people in an attack on a luxury hotel and shopping mall complex in Kenya's capital of Nairobi. The attack demonstrated al-Shabab's continued ability to carry out spectacular acts of bloodshed despite US-backed military action against the group.

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