US strikes ISIS in Somalia for the first time - official

The US conducted a pair of drone strikes against Islamic State fighters in Somalia on Friday, the first time America has struck the jihadists in the Horn of Africa nation, officials said.

The strikes occurred in northeastern Somalia and killed "several terrorists," the US military's Africa Command said in a statement.

"No civilians were in the vicinity of the strikes," said AFRICOM spokesman Lieutenant Commander Anthony Falvo.

"They struck their intended targets," he added, noting these were the first anti-IS air strikes in Somalia.

The first strike occurred around midnight Somalia time (0300 GMT) with the second strike coming at about 11:00 am (1400 GMT).

In recent months, the US has repeatedly hit Somali jihadists from the Shabaab rebel group that is aligned with Al-Qaeda, but Friday's development marks a significant step in the ever-evolving war against IS.

"US forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats," AFRICOM said.

Somalia's security forces are disorganized and riddled with corruption, and the Shabaab has exploited state weakness to maintain control of many rural parts of central and southern Somalia.


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