US Military Targets Al-Shabab Terror Network in Drone Strike

PHOTO: Hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area south of Mogadishu, Somalia in this file photo, Feb. 17, 2011.Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP Photo
Hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area south of Mogadishu, Somalia in this file photo, Feb. 17, 2011.

The U.S. has conducted a Special Operations-led airstrike just south of Mogadishu targeting senior al-Shabab leader Yusuf Dheeq, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

“A little bit after 9 a.m. eastern time [Jan. 31] U.S. Special Operations Forces conducted a strike south of Mogadishu using unmanned aircraft and several hellfire missiles,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters at a Pentagon briefing. “This operation was a direct strike against the al-Shabab network and the terrorist group’s chief of external operations and planning for intelligence and security... We are still assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information when and if appropriate.”

Kirby said the strike demonstrates the reach of the US government and its commitment to fighting terrorism.

Al-Shabab is a Somalia-based terrorist group with close ties to al Qaeda.

Kirby said the strike was conducted in coordination with the government of Somalia and said it did not require putting American troops on the ground. He added there were no known civilian casualties as a result of the strike.