The US conducted more airstrikes on Somalia in 2019 than any previous year, with three airstrikes by US forces against the al-Shabaab militant group on Sunday raising the total to 63 airstrikes this year.
According to a Sunday statement by US Africa Command (AFRICOM), based in Stuttgart, Germany, three airstrikes that day hit two locations in Somalia, killing four al-Shabaab militants in total. The attacks brought total US airstrikes this year in the East African country to 63, more than a dozen more than last year and close to double the number in 2017.
The strikes came just a day after a truck bomb exploded in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, killing 81 people and injuring 149 others who were waiting at a checkpoint. It was the deadliest attack in the capital in more than two years. On Monday, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the blast.
“Since al-Shabaab’s first external attack in 2010, the group has ruthlessly killed hundreds,” AFRICOM Operations Director Maj. Gen. William Gayler said in the statement, noting the group is “a global menace and their sights are set on exporting violence regionally and eventually attacking the US homeland.”
AFRICOM stated they “currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes,” but the veracity of such claims has been seriously called into question by reports by Amnesty International as well as changes in Pentagon doctrine over the…