WASHINGTON — Reflecting stepped-up targeting of extremists in Africa, the U.S. military said airstrikes killed more than 100 militants in Somalia on Tuesday and hit Islamic State fighters in Libya days earlier.
U.S. Africa Command, which manages U.S. military operations on the continent, said the airstrike in Somalia targeted an al-Shabab camp about 125 miles northwest of the capital, Mogadishu, killing more than 100. That is the largest number of reported deaths from a single U.S. airstrike in Somalia since the Trump administration approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab, which is allied with al-Qaida.
Al-Shabab is blamed for last month’s truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed more than 350 people.
A Somali intelligence official said U.S. drone aircraft fired at least eight missiles at al-Shabab bases and training camps in Bur-Eylada, a village situated between the towns of Dinsor and Burhakaba in the Bay region. The official, who was not authorized to speak to reporters on the record and discussed the matter on condition of anonymity, said senior al-Shabab commanders were among the dead.
The U.S. this month also began targeting a small but growing IS presence in northern Somalia.
Separately, Africa Command said it conducted two airstrikes near Fuqaha in central Libya against Islamic State group militants — one Nov. 17 and another two days later. It made no mention of casualties and did not identify the specific targets. It said the strikes were done in coordination with Libya’s interim government, known as the Government of National Accord.
The Trump administration has committed to preventing the Islamic State group from regrouping after losing its grip on significant territory in Iraq and Syria.
Associated Press writer Abdi Guled in Mogadishu, Somalia, contributed to this report.