AFRICOM has reported that the US carried out a major airstrike against the town of Harardere in central Somalia on Tuesday, and officials reported that the early assessment says 60 people were killed, all “al-Shabaab fighters.”
This is the deadliest single US attack in Somalia since November of 2017, in which around 100 people were killed. AFRICOM also noted this was the one-year anniversary of an al-Shabaab truck bombing, but denied that had any impact on the attack.
That the anniversary was mentioned at all suggests the US is keen to make such a connection, however. AFRICOM offered no other details on why the attack was launched, or why this town, out of so many under al-Shabaab control, would be targeted.
US assessments, particularly in Somalia, tend to declare everyone killed to be al-Shabaab unless proven otherwise. This means the early claims are to be met with some skepticism, particularly when combined with the idea that the US planes attacked in the middle of a town in Mudug Province, killing scores of people, and that no civilians were killed or wounded.
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