Somali terrorists strike back at US forces

Somali terrorists strike back at US forces

Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, then-commander, U.S. Africa Command, discusses U.S. and Somalia partnering efforts with Somali Maj. Gen. Dahir Adan Elmi, Somali Chief of Defense Forces, during a meeting in Mogadishu, Somalia, June 11, 2019 (U.S. Army photo by Air Force Col. Christopher Karns)

WASHINGTON — The Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab struck back at U.S. forces Monday, attacking a base used by U.S. personnel with a vehicle-borne bomb.

The attack at the Baledogle Military Airfield complex in Baledogle, Somalia, did not result in casualties or injuries to U.S. or partner forces, U.S. Africa Command said in a statement.

“This attack, though ineffective, demonstrates the direct threat al-Shabaab poses to Americans, our allies, and interests in the region,” Maj. Gen. William Gayler, Africa Command’s director of operations, said in the statement.

“The response to this attack and in self-defense, US Africa Command conducted two airstrikes and used small arms fire targeting al-Shabaab terrorists. It is assessed U.S. and partner forces killed 10 terrorists and destroyed one vehicle involved in the attack,” the statement said.

There are roughly 800 U.S. personnel in Somalia, Pentagon officials have previously said. They are primarily special forces personnel, whose primary tasks are training and building a Somalia specialized light infantry force known as Danab and advising local forces battling al-Shabaab, which is the regional ISIS affiliate.

There are an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 al-Shabaab terrorists in the country who hold about a fourth of Somalia’s territory, Pentagon officials have said.

The Pentagon has increased its air strikes against al-Shabaab, already going beyond the record 47 attacks of 2018.

Earlier Monday, two Italian army vehicles participating in a European Union training mission in Somalia were hit by an explosion in Mogadishu, according to news reports. No one from the Italian army was injured, according to news reports.

The Somalia action attack came as the Pentagon launched its fourth drone strike in southern Libya in the past 10 days, this one killing seven ISIS fighters, the Pentagon said Monday. At least 25 ISIS fighters have been killed in Libya this year from Pentagon strikes.

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