Somalia: US conducts another airstrike against Al-Shabaab – its 2nd in 3 days
The US military has conducted another airstrike against Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia – the second attack in three days.
US Africa Command offered few details about the strike, which was executed on Tuesday, but described the operation as a “self-defense” attack. AFRICOM said it is still assessing the results of the attack, providing no estimate of how many militants were killed.
Another US airstrike
The latest strike is the third to be conducted by the US since President Donald Trump granted AFRICOM leader, Gen Thomas Waldhauser, wider authority to launch offensives against Al-Shabaab in March. However, this is the second attack in three days and AFRICOM appears to be keeping quiet on the details of these latest two operations.
All we know about Tuesday’s attack is that it took place around 300 miles southwest of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. While AFRICOM says the strike falls within the parameters of “self-defense”.
“This strike was conducted within the parameters of our authority to engage in collective self-defense of our Somali partners,” AFRICOM said on Wednesday.
This statement from AFRICOM suggests it feels this attack could have been carried out under the previous rules of engagement, before Trump changed them in March.
Strike different from previous two
Unlike the previous two attacks, AFRICOM is calling this a “self-defense” operation. The first airstrike after Trump granted new powers to the US military operating in Somalia was conducted on June 11, killing eight militants. This attack utilised the new powers granted to AFRICOM by the Whitehouse – the first operation of its kind in the fight against Al-Shabaab.
The attack on July 2 is also believed to have been conducted under the new power. Certainly, neither the US military nor AFRICOM described it as a “self-defense” operation, unlike the latest attack carried out on Tuesday.
Previous to the new authorities, the US military was only granted to carry out “self-defense” strikes, in support of Somali troops and their US advisors. However, the new authorities mean the US military is temporarily permitted to conduct offensive airstrikes in select areas of Somalia that deemed to be a threat.
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