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US Strikes ISIS in Somalia for 1st Time

US Strikes ISIS in Somalia for 1st Time

Saturday, 4 November, 2017 - 10:30
The Triton unmanned aircraft system completing its first flight from the Northrop Grumman manufacturing facility in Palmdale, California, May 22, 2013. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman/Alex Evers/Handout via Reuters

The United States carried out its first drone strikes against ISIS militants in Somalia and killed "several terrorists," the US military’s Africa Command said on Friday.

The first strike was carried out at midnight local time and another one at 11 a.m. on Nov. 3, it said.

"Several terrorists" were killed, the military said in a statement, adding that the strikes were conducted in coordination with Somalia's government.

"US forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats," AFRICOM stated.

ISIS has been gathering recruits in the region, although experts say the scale of its force is unclear and it remains a small player compared to the al-Shabaab extremist group.

Last month, a group loyal to ISIS seized a small port town in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region, the first town it has taken since emerging a year ago.

The group, which refers to itself simply as ISIS, is a rival to the larger al-Shabaab force, which is linked to al-Qaeda and once controlled much of Somalia.

According to Voice of America, which cited the chairman of the town of Qandala in Puntland, six missiles hit an ISIS base in Buqa village, 60 kilometers away.

"Local residents and pastoralists were shocked and fled from the area," Jama Mohamed Qurshe told VOA.

AFRICOM spokesman Lieutenant Commander Anthony Falvo said no civilians were in the vicinity of the strikes.

"They struck their intended targets," he told AFP.

The United States has occasionally carried out strikes against al-Shabaab, which retains a strong presence in parts of southern and central Somalia and carries out gun and bomb attacks.

Earlier this year, the White House granted the US military broader authority to carry out strikes against the group.

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