US airstrike kills 'several' al-Shabab militants in Somalia

A U.S. airstrike in Somalia against al-Shabab killed "several militants."

The strike targeting al-Shabab occurred at approximately 3 p.m. local time in the Bay Region, about 100 miles west of Somalia's capital, Mogadishu. U.S. forces carried out the operation in coordination with Somalia's federal government, according to a press release from the United States Africa Command.

"U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats," the press release added.

The operation comes one week after U.S. forces conducted its first airstrikes against ISIS in Somalia. However, the main target of U.S. airstrikes in Somalia is al Shabab.

Clan warlords battling for power carved up Somalia following the collapse of a military dictatorship in the early 1990s. After years of interim authority, an internationally backed federal government was installed in 2012. In February, the East African country elected its first president in decades, whose victory offered a ray of hope for residents.

Although the group lost control of most cities and towns, al Shabab continues to dominate in many rural areas of southern Somalia and is reportedly becoming increasingly present in the northern region. However, Somalia experts have told ABC News that the group is struggling to recruit new members.

Al Shabab has been blamed for carrying out the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history last month, though there was no official claim of responsibility. The massive truck bombing in the capital left more than 350 people dead and hundreds of others wounded. The Oct. 14 attack could be an indication of the power the extremist group still wields over the Horn of Africa nation.