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INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

First US air strike on Somalia against al-Qaeda under Biden administration
Defence Redefined
Published on 21/07/2021 at 08:26

The US military launched yesterday an air strike on al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab jihadists. This is the first strike since Joe Biden took over the presidency of the United States in January, according to the Pentagon.

The United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) has launched an “air raid on the outskirts of Galkayo,” Pentagon spokeswoman Cindy King told AFP.

The raid targeted Shabaab fighters (“the youth” in Arabic) and its results are being evaluated, as battles on land between jihadists and Somali government troops are still ongoing, the spokeswoman added.

Also read: Somalia | At least 20 dead as Al-Shabaab steps up its actions

“The command’s initial conclusion is that no civilian was injured or killed in this strike,” she added. Previous US air strikes in Somalia were announced on January 19, when AFRICOM reported that three Shabaab jihadists had been killed in two separate strikes south and north of the capital Mogadishu.

When Joe Biden came to power the next day, he announced that he was restricting the US military’s use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to strike at jihadist organizations outside the theaters of war in which the United States is officially involved, revoking the decision to the contrary by Donald Trump, who had practically given a blank cheque to his generals for countries like Somalia.

Also read: After Iraq and Afghanistan, Trump withdraws US troops from Somalia

In March, Pentagon spokesman John Kerby said all strikes against jihadist groups outside Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq were now being approved by the White House before being carried out.

Former President Donald Trump, from the beginning of his term in 2016, eased the control that Barack Obama exercised in military operations against jihadist organizations, saying that he had “confidence in his generals”.

The UAVs in Somalia then multiplied, from 11 in 2015 to 64 in 2019, according to Airwars.

Shortly before stepping down, Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of some 700 US Army Special Forces soldiers deployed in Somalia to train and advise Somali military personnel.

Also read: At least 66 killed in fights taking place in central Somalia

Source: CNA

 

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