Fighters for the Islamic State will no longer have free rein in Somalia, as the US pounded ISIS fighters in two separate airstrikes. The attacks were a first for the US military in the country where the terrorist group is an attempt to grow their influence. ISIS now joins al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group as threats to the region.
The Somali government coordinated with the US through the AFRICOM joint command for the two drone strikes which killed several terrorists in Northeast Somalia according to official sources. The strikes took place around midnight and later on Friday morning.
Local officials confirmed the strikes. At least six missiles struck in Buqa, a remote mountainous village roughly 37 miles north of Qandala town in the northern state of Puntland, a Somali security official told The Associated Press.
The airstrike may have targeted top leaders of the group, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The mayor of Qandala, Jama Mohamed, said the strikes sent terrified nomadic villagers and their animals fleeing.
But ISIS-linked fighters who have split from the Somalia-based al-Shabab pose a growing threat in Puntland.
In May, The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing in Puntland — said to be the first time the extremist group had claimed an attack in the Horn of Africa nation. Police said a suicide bomber detonated at a military checkpoint in the commercial hub of Bossaso, killing at least four people.
The United States military has hit al-Shabab with roughly a dozen air strikes this year since the Trump Administration authorized strikes against it. The terrorist group recently carried out a deadly truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed more than 350 people.
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