August 4, 2017 / 11:32 AM / 2 months ago

U.S. says took part in Somalia raid that killed al Shabaab commander

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - The United States said on Friday it took part in a July 30 raid that Somalia’s government has already said killed a senior member of an al Shabaab network, which Mogadishu blames for several Islamist bombings.

The Somali information ministry said on Monday the attack near the southern town of Torotoroow targeted a man identified as Ali Mohamed Hussein or Ali Jabal.

“The U.S. conducted this operation in coordination with its regional partners as a direct response to al Shabaab actions, including recent attacks on Somali forces,” the U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a statement on Friday.

“His removal disrupts al Shabaab’s ability to plan and conduct attacks in Mogadishu and coordinate efforts between al Shabaab regional commanders.”

It is the second such raid in the last two months that has killed senior members of al Shabaab.

A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed and two troops were wounded in May during a raid on one of the group’s compounds in what appeared to be the first U.S. combat death in the African country since the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident.

An AFRICOM spokesperson told Reuters the U.S. had carried out 13 strikes in 2016 and three so far this year.

Al Shabaab was not immediately reachable for comment.

The al Qaeda-affiliated insurgents have carried out frequent attacks in Mogadishu as they bid to topple Somalia’s Western-backed government and drive out African Union peacekeeping troops.

Somalia has been at war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned against each other.

Editing by Aaron Maasho and Andrew Bolton

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