A U.S. military airstrike in central Somalia this weekend killed 60 Al Shabab fighters, the largest airstrike targeting the al-Qaeda affiliated terror group in more than a year, officials said Tuesday.
U.S. Africa Command said in a statement that the strike occurred on October 12 near Harardere, a town 250 miles north of Mogadishu.
“We currently assess this airstrike killed approximately sixty (60) terrorists,” said the statement. “This precision airstrike was the largest airstrike against al-Shabaab since November 21, 2017, when U.S. forces conducted an airstrike against an al-Shabaab camp killing approximately 100 terrorists.”
“We also currently assess this airstrike did not injure or kill any civilians,” it added.
Airstrikes in Somalia are usually carried out by unmanned Reaper drones and are small in scope.
U.S. Africa Command is authorized to conduct self-defense strikes in situations when African Union or Somali government troops accompanied by U.S. advisers came under attack.
They are also authorized to conduct offensive airstrikes in the southern part of the country targeting al Shabab safe havens.
Africom had disclosed the airstrike on October 12, but had provided no details other than to say “we are currently assessing the results of this airstrike.”
The Nov. 21, 2017, airstrike targeted an al Shabab training camp in southern Somalia and occurred during a time when there was an uptick in the number of airstrikes against the militant group.
There are about 500 U.S. military personnel in Somalia participating in an advise and assist mission with the Somali military.