U.S. military kills Al-Shabaab fighter in southern Somalia

Li Jiayao

MOGADISHU, July 31 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. military said Monday it carried out a drone strike in southern Somalia on Saturday evening, killing Al-Shabaab fighter.

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said the successful kinetic strike operation against the militants occurred near Tortoroow in southern Somalia. But no civilian was harmed.

"The U.S. conducted this operation in coordination with its regional partners as a direct response to Al-Shabaab actions, including recent attacks on Somali forces," it said in a statement.

Washington said Al-Shabaab which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaida is dedicated to providing safe haven for terrorist attacks throughout the world.

"Al-Shabaab has publicly committed to planning and conducting attacks against the US and our allies. We continue to work in coordination with our Somali partners and allies to systematically dismantle Al-Shabaab, and help achieve stability and security throughout the region," Africom said.

Local media reports have identified the targeted Al-Shabab leader as Ali Mohamed Hussein, who has served as the militant's group's shadow governor for Mogadishu.

"We will continue to assess the results of the operation, and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operational security," Africom said.

The military said the Saturday's strike was conducted within the parameters of the proposal approved by the President in March, which allows the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct lethal action against Al-Shabaab within a geographically-defined area of active hostilities in support of partner force in Somalia.

The U.S. maintains a small force unit of about 50 troops in Somalia mainly to advise and assist Somalia and AMISOM troops battling Al-Shabaab militants.

Though they are not in Somalia to conduct combat operations, when called in, their helicopters, drones and manned aircraft are available for quick reaction air strikes.


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