MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – A US air strike targeted fighters of the Al-Qaeda-aligned militant group Al-Shabaab in a heavily contested area in central Somalia, regional officials said on Sunday, weeks after government troops and local paramilitary forces had begun a large-scale offensive aimed at retaking areas under the control of Islamist militants.
It comes after the United States military claimed two other air raids targeting areas held by Al-Shabaab in southern Mudug region, where militants have been trying to halt the advance of allied forces, with US air support.
Troops earlier recaptured the town of Ba’adwayne, weeks after it fell to the Al-Qaeda-affiliate which had been pressing further north before federal and regional troops mobilized for a new offensive.
“A strike targeted a military base housing Al-Shabaab militants between Qay’ad and Hareri-dere,” Galmudug regional authorities said in a statement, without giving further details.
It is yet unclear if there were militants killed in the air raid and regional officials said a gunfight followed the strike on Sunday morning.
Al-Shabaab has not immediately commented on the strike and subsequent exchange of gunfire with troops near the village of Qay’ad.
It is the third air strike the US military conducted in the war-torn Horn of Africa nation since the current president Joe Biden took office in January, more than six months after nearly all of approximately 700 American troops were pulled out of the country, in a draw-down which local authorities raised fear may embolden militants.
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