The U.S. military conducted two strikes in southern Somalia early this week that killed four al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants involved in attacks on Somali government troops, a U.S. military spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
The U.S. military previously has used drones to target al-Shabab's senior leaders. In June, the Pentagon said it carried out a strike in late May against Abdullahi Haji Da'ud, one of al-Shabab's senior military planners, and served as a principal coordinator of attacks in Somalia, Kenya and Uganda.
The latest strikes took place Monday in Torotorow in southern Somalia's Lower Shabelle region.
"During a Somali-led counterterrorism operation, a large group of armed al-Shabab fighters attacked the force, threatening the safety and security of the forces in the area," said Captain Jennifer Dyrcz, a U.S. Africa Command spokeswoman. "In response, the U.S. conducted two self-defense strikes ... killing four al-Shabab militants."
Al-Shabab was pushed out of Mogadishu by African Union peacekeeping forces in 2011 but has remained a potent antagonist in Somalia, launching frequent attacks aimed at overthrowing the Western-backed government. For instance, the Islamist militant group claimed responsibility for an August 30 car bombing outside Mogadishu’s presidential palace that killed at least 22 people.