US airstrikes in Somalia kill 62 militants, US military says

Strikes targeted al-Shabaab militants

By Jaide Timm-Garcia, CNN

(CNN) - Sixty-two militants were killed by US airstrikes in Somalia this month, US Africa Command said in a statement released Monday.

The strikes, which targeted al-Shabaab militants, were conducted near Gandarshe, Somalia, according to the statement. A strike on Saturday killed 34 militants, and a strike on Sunday killed 28 militants, US Africa Command said.

The airstrikes were conducted in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia to "prevent terrorists from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire and recruit for future attacks," according to the statement.

Al-Shabaab, al Qaeda's largest affiliate, "uses portions of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists," the statement continued.

The US military assessed that the airstrikes did not injure or kill any civilians, according to the statement.

In November, the US military said it killed 37 militants in two airstrikes in the vicinity of Debatscile, Somalia.

In March 2017, President Donald Trump authorized the US military to carry out precision strikes targeting al-Shabaab in an effort to bolster the federal government of Somalia.

Prior to that, the US military was only authorized to carry out airstrikes in self-defense of advisers on the ground.

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