US Launches Airstrike in Somalia, Says Two al-Shabaab Killed

The US signed a deal on Thursday to build five new military bases for the Mogadishu-based government

The US military announced on Wednesday that it launched an airstrike in Somalia against al-Shabaab on February 9 in support of the US-backed Mogadishu-based government.

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the strike was launched in the vicinity of Yaq Dabel in Jubala, Somalia’s southernmost province. The attack marks the first known US airstrike in Somalia for the month of February. AFRICOM announced two airstrikes in January.

The command claimed the February 9 airstrike killed two al-Shabaab fighters and that the “initial assessment” found no civilians were harmed. But AFRICOM is notorious for undercounting civilian casualties, and US military operations in Somalia are shrouded in secrecy.

The US has been increasing support for the Somali government in recent years and signed a deal on Thursday that commits the US to build five new military bases in the country for the Somali army. The bases will be for the Danab Brigade, a special unit that’s armed and trained by the US.

US airstrikes in Somalia escalated in 2022 after President Biden ordered the deployment of up to 500 troops to the country, and the US-backed government launched an offensive against al-Shabaab.

When the House debated a resolution to withdraw from Somalia last year, lawmakers said there were 900 troops in the country.

US operations in Somalia under Biden have not gotten as intense as they were during the Trump administration when the US bombed the country at a record pace.

The US military hypes the threat of al-Shabaab due to its size and al-Qaeda affiliation, but it’s widely believed the group does not have ambitions outside of Somalia.

Al-Shabaab was born out of a US-backed Ethiopian invasion in 2006 that toppled the Islamic Courts Union, a coalition of Muslim groups who briefly held power in Mogadishu after ousting CIA-backed warlords.

Al-Shabaab was the radical offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union. The group’s first recorded attack was in 2007, and it wasn’t until 2012 that al-Shabaab pledged loyalty to al-Qaeda after years of fighting the US and its proxies.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.