On Monday the Pentagon announced that a successful airstrike over the weekend in Somalia has killed a top leader of the al-Shabaab terror group. The airstrike happened on Saturday outside the city of Jilib, roughly 370 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu.
“Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests,” an Africom statement revealing the operation said.
“US Africa Command, alongside its partners, continues to take action to prevent this malicious terrorist group from planning and conducting attacks on civilians,” the statement continued.
The Pentagon claimed that there were no civilian casualties as a result of the airstrike. Interestingly, US officials did not name the particular terror commander who had been taken out.
However, as The Hill reports, local sources did: “the Somali Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism on Sunday identified the militant killed as Abdullahi Nadir.” Further, the report notes:
Nadir, who the Somali government said had been wanted for a “long time,” had a $3 million U.S. bounty on his head.
Abdullahi Nadir is a co-founder of al-Shabaab, which makes this strike the biggest anti-jihadist US operation since Biden’s ordered troop redeployment in the region.
It remains that the group, which has been active in south and central parts of Somalia – and is a notorious and feared Islamist organization due especially to a spate of major kidnappings in recent years, is Somalia’s prime target, having declared “total war” against it, which Washington has pledged to help with.
Biden has apparently ramped up drone strikes in Somalia over the last months. As we highlighted in August, “Since 2007, the U.S. military has carried out 260 actions in Somalia. While the Pentagon only admits to killing five civilians and wounding 11 others in a campaign it claims killed as many as 3,010 militants, Airwars estimates that 78-153 civilians, including 20-23 children, have died in U.S. attacks.”