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US Africa Command conducts air strikes in Somalia

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The US army says it has conducted two separate air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in northeastern Somalia, killing several members of the group.

Friday’s attacks were in coordination with Somali government forces, the statement said.

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the first strike occurred at approximately midnight local Somalia time (21:00 GMT), with the second strike occurring at approximately 11am local Somalia time (08:00 GMT).

“We are currently assessing the results of the strike,” the statement said.

Reports from Somalia suggest ISIL has been recruiting members there since it became active in the country, although the scale of its activities is far smaller than that of al-Shabab.

At least 350 people were killed in a truck bombing in the capital, Mogadishu, last month, in the largest attack the country has seen.

ISIL captured a port town in the mountainous areas of Puntland region last month.

The AFRICOM statement said that US forces will continue to cooperate with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) to target “terrorists”, their training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia.

From the Horn of Africa in the east to the Sahel, encompassing Central and West Africa, security forces backed by Western troops have been stepping up efforts to counter armed groups such as ISIL, Boko Haram, al-Shabab and al-Qaeda.

The presidents of the Sahel countries, including Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Chad, are working on final modalities to set up a G5 Sahel force to help fight the numerous groups that are active in the region.(Agencies)

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