US conducts 1st airstrikes against ISIS in Somalia

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The United States military has conducted its first airstrikes against ISIS in Somalia, where the U.S. typically strikes against the al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab, according to a U.S. official.

"In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted two separate airstrikes against ISIS, in northeastern Somalia on Nov. 3, killing several terrorists," said a statement from U.S. Africa Command (Africom).

"The first strike occurred at approximately midnight local Somalia time with the second separate strike occurring at approximately 11 a.m. local Somalia time," the statement added. "We are currently assessing the results of the strike."

These are the first American military strikes against ISIS, which has developed a small presence in the Horn of Africa.

The airstrikes were carried out under the authorities given to U.S. Africa Command in March by President Donald Trump.

Those authorities enabled offensive airstrikes in Somalia. Until then, U.S. airstrikes could only be used in self-defense situations on behalf of Somali and African Union troops.

The main target of U.S. airstrikes in Somalia is al Shabaab, which operates in southern and central Somalia.

The airstrikes were first reported by local press in Somalia.

"U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats," read the Africom statement. "This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF); targeting terrorists, their training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia, the region and around the world."

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