US Launches Airstrikes In Somalia For First Time This Year

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Jan 24, 2024 - 10:00 PM

Authored by Dave DeCamp via,

The US launched airstrikes in Somalia on January 21, US Africa Command announced on Tuesday, marking the first known US bombing of the country in 2024.

AFRICOM said in a press release that the strikes consisted of two separate engagements against al-Shabaab about 20 miles northeast of Kismaayo, a port city in southern Somalia. The command said the strikes were launched at the request of the US-backed Mogadishu-based government.

USAF file image

The command said its "initial assessment" found three al-Shabaab fighters were killed and claimed no civilians were harmed. But AFRICOM is notorious for undercounting civilian casualties, and US military operations in Somalia are shrouded in secrecy.

The last US airstrikes in Somalia reported by AFRICOM were launched on December 20. The latest US bombing comes as tensions are soaring off the northern Somali coast as the US has launched a new war against Yemen’s Houthis in response to their attacks on Israel-linked commercial shipping that started in protest of Israel’s onslaught in Gaza.

US airstrikes in Somalia escalated in 2022 after President Biden ordered the deployment of up to 500 troops to the country, and the US-backed government launched an offensive against al-Shabaab.

When the House debated a resolution to withdraw from Somalia last year, lawmakers said there were 900 troops in the country. US troops on the ground in Somalia provide training for a special fighting force known as the Danab Brigade.

US operations in Somalia under Biden have not gotten as intense as they were during the Trump administration when the US bombed the country at a record pace.

The US military hypes the threat of al-Shabaab due to its size and al-Qaeda affiliation, but it’s widely believed the group does not have ambitions outside of Somalia. Al-Shabaab was born out of a US-backed Ethiopian invasion in 2006 that toppled the Islamic Courts Union, a coalition of Muslim groups who briefly held power in Mogadishu after ousting CIA-backed warlords.

Al-Shabaab was the radical offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union. The group’s first recorded attack was in 2007, and it wasn’t until 2012 that al-Shabaab pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda after years of fighting the US and its proxies.