Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 26 May 2019

US says 13 suspected ISIS members killed in Somalia air strike

Strike was carried out in the Golis Mountains in northern Somalia, Africom says

US forces in Africa say an air strike launched in Somalia has killed 13 suspected ISIS militants.

The strike was carried out in the Golis Mountains in northern Somalia, where three ISIS militants were killed in April.

"At this time, it is assessed the air strike on May 8 killed 13 terrorists. Currently, we assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike," said a statement from the US Africa Command, or Africom.

ISIS has a relatively small presence in Somalia compared to the Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab militant group.

But ISIS has been particularly active in the northern Puntland region, establishing training camps and depots for weapons coming mainly from nearby Yemen.

Al Shabab, by far the largest radical Islamist group in Somalia, officially integrated into Al Qaeda in 2012. But a small number of its members, about 200, defected to ISIS.

That group, based in semi-autonomous Puntland, is led by Abdulqadir Mumin, who in August 2016 was placed on the US State Department's list of international terrorists.

Africa Command said an April 14 strike killed the ISIS second in command in Somalia, Abdulhakim Dhuqub, who was in charge of the group's attack planning and daily operations.

As of late 2018, Africom put the number of ISIS fighters in Somalia at between 75 and 250, compared to an estimated 3,000 to 7,000 Al Shabab members.

Updated: May 10, 2019 12:54 PM

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