US airstrike kills two al-Shabab militants after attack in Somalia

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A US airstrike killed two members of an al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Somalia in the first major action by American forces in the East African nation since President Joe Biden sent special operations troops back there in May.

US Africa Command said it conducted the strike in coordination with the government of Somalia on Sunday after the al-Shabab terrorist organization “attacked partner forces in a remote location near Libikus, Somalia,” according to a statement.

“Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabab present long-term threats to Somali, regional and US interests.”

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Biden ordered several hundred Special Forces troops back to the war-ravaged country on a “persistent basis” in May, with officials at the Pentagon and White House saying the al-Shabaab group presented an increasing threat.

The move came after Donald Trump ordered troops out of the country near the end of his term.

The latest strike and broader US assessment of al-Shabab show how the US sees terrorist groups as a potent threat in some parts of the world, despite the war in Ukraine and the increasing focus on “great power competition” with China and Russia.

Trump’s withdrawal, with took place against the recommendation of military leaders, wasn’t meant to signal a complete US retreat from Somalia.

Rather, forces were expected to be able to strike from a distance or do short-term engagements in the country when needed.

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