Reuters – The United States has carried out an air strike in Somalia, killing more than 150 fighters with the al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al Shabaab, following U.S. intelligence on preparations for a large-scale militant attack, the Pentagon said on Monday.
The U.S. military said it had been monitoring the camp for several weeks before the strike and had gathered intelligence, including about an imminent threat posed by the trainees.
“We know they were going to be departing the camp and that they posed an imminent threat to U.S. and to Amisom, African Union mission in Somalia forces, that are in Somalia,” said Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis.
Davis declined to disclose any specific information the United States might have about the group’s intended target.
The al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab was pushed out of Mogadishu by African Union peacekeeping forces in 2011 but has remained a potent antagonist in Somalia, launching frequent attacks in its bid to overthrow the Western-backed government.
The group, whose name means “The Youth,” seeks to impose its strict version of sharia law in Somalia, where it frequently unleashes attacks targeting security and government targets, as well as hotels and restaurants in the capital.
Davis stated as numerous as 200 fighters had been believed to become instruction at the Raso camp in the time of your strike and expressed confidence there have been no civilian casualties.
“Their removal will degrade al Shabaab’s ability to meet the group’s objectives in Somalia, which include recruiting new members, establishing bases and planning attacks on U.S. and Amisom forces there,” Davis said.
No U.S. forces on the ground participated in the strike.
“It was an air operation,” Davis said.