U.S. Airstrike in Somalia Kills Three ISIS Militants

On Friday, a U.S. airstrike targeted ISIS militants near Dhaardaar, Somalia, resulting in the deaths of three militants, according to the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). The operation was coordinated with the Somali government.

In their report, AFRICOM emphasized that no civilian casualties occurred and that extensive measures were taken to avoid harming non-combatants.

In a statement, AFRICOM highlighted, “ISIS has conducted numerous attacks globally, including terrorist attacks in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, all while continuing to plot against U.S. homeland and personnel and interests around the world, as well as regional partners, and others globally.” The spokesperson added, “Somalia remains central to the security environment in East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to degrade ISIS.”

As part of ongoing efforts, this airstrike represents the collaborative endeavors of Somali and international forces to combat extremist groups in the region. Recently, AFRICOM denied involvement in a May 26 operation in the Calmadow Mountains of Somalia’s Sanaag region. That operation, according to the Somali government, resulted in the deaths of over 20 al-Shabaab militants, including three key leaders. However, Puntland’s administration disputed these claims, asserting control over the area and denying the federal government’s involvement in the attack.

ISIS’s branch in Somalia, known as ISIS-Somalia, poses a significant threat in the already volatile security landscape of Somalia. The group, led by Abdul Qadir Mumin, a former Al-Shabaab cleric, emerged in October 2015 when a faction of Al-Shabaab militants defected and pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Between ISIS-Somalia and Al-Shabaab, rivalry and conflict have marked their relationship. Although both groups share similar ideological goals, competition for resources, recruits, and territorial control has led to violent clashes. Al-Shabaab, seeing ISIS-Somalia as a threat to its dominance, has actively sought to eliminate its presence in the region.

Primarily operating in the northern Puntland region, ISIS-Somalia has carried out numerous brutal attacks, including targeted assassinations, suicide bombings, and assaults on security forces and civilians. Despite their base in the Galgala mountains, their activities have extended to southern and central Somalia.

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