U.S.: 40 Islamists Killed in Four Days of Somalia Strikes

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The Pentagon said Monday that U.S. forces had killed 40 Shabaab and Islamic State fighters in a series of strikes on Somalia that began late last week.

The U.S. military has launched five strikes since Thursday on jihadist positions in the Horn of Africa country, killing 36 members of the al-Qaida-affiliated Shabaab group and four from the Islamic State group, said Colonel Rob Manning, a spokesman.

"In coordination with the federal government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted five airstrikes in Somalia against Al-Shabaab and ISIS, from November 9 to the 12th, removing more than 40 terrorists from the battlefield," Manning said.

The strikes were carried out by the U.S. Africa Command, and followed two devastating attacks attributed to Islamic militants in Mogadishu that left about 385 people dead last month.

The surge in U.S. operations came after President Donald Trump in March loosened the constraints on the U.S. military to take actions against alleged terrorists when they judge it is needed, without seeking specific White House approval.

A pair of U.S. drone strikes that killed several militants on November 3 marked the first time American forces hit Islamic State group fighters in Somalia.