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US military kills 17 Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia

IANS | Mogadishu |

The US military has intensified airstrikes in Somalia in the past week, killing at least 17 Al-Shabaab terrorists behind the increased deadly attacks in countries including Kenya.

The US Africa Command (Africom) in two separate statements on Monday said its forces killed four terrorists some 25 km from Mogadishu on the evening of December 27, destroying one vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, preventing it from being used against the people in Mogadishu, Xinhua reported.

Africom also said at least 13 terrorists were killed on December 24 in Somalia as Washington intensified airstrikes to weed out Al-Shabaab militants.

“US forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect the United States, its partners and interests, and deny safe haven to terrorist groups,” it said.

“This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) in combined counterterrorism operations and targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region,” it said.

The Islamist extremists have pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and is dedicated to providing safe haven for terrorist attacks throughout the world.

The US forces have carried out a series of drone strikes in recent months in Somalia, targeting Islamic State and Al-Shabaab fighters as the Africa Union peacekeeping mission prepares to exit the country.

Somali and African Union peacekeeping (AMISOM) forces have also intensified military operations against the insurgents, flushing them in their Lower and Middle Shabelle region bases amid an expected recall of 1,000 African Union troops by end of December 2017.