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airstrikes
March 20, 2019

U.S. military officials are disputing a new Amnesty International report released Tuesday alleging U.S. airstrikes in Somalia have killed or injured almost two dozen civilians.

Amnesty International says it interviewed 65 witnesses and survivors of five airstrikes and examined satellite images and additional data. The organization determined there is "credible evidence" the U.S. was behind four of the five airstrikes, and it's plausible it was responsible for the fifth. The strikes killed 14 civilians and left eight injured.

The U.S. military is conducting operations against al-Shabaab, a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda. In 2018, the U.S. was responsible for 47 airstrikes that killed 338 militants, and so far this year, more than 230 militants have been killed in 28 airstrikes.

U.S. Africa Command officials said it has concluded there were no civilian deaths in the first four airstrikes reported by Amnesty International, and in the fifth case, the U.S. did not have any airstrikes in the vicinity on that day. Defense officials told The Associated Press that al-Shabaab lies about civilian deaths and threatens locals into doing the same. Catherine Garcia

May 7, 2015

A U.S. drone strike in Yemen killed a senior leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) who had claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack and other killings, the group announced Thursday.

AQAP confirmed the death of Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi and other operatives in a video. Al-Ansi often appeared in taped messages himself, including one released after the January Charlie Hebdo massacre where al-Ansi said AQAP "chose the target, laid the plan, and financed the operation," NBC News reports. Al-Ansi also declared in a separate video that AQAP was responsible for killing Luke Somers, a 33-year-old American hostage, after two failed attempts by the U.S. military to rescue him. Catherine Garcia

March 18, 2015

Adan Garar, the mastermind of the 2013 terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, was killed last Thursday when as many as three Hellfire missiles struck the vehicle he was in, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

Garar was said to be a member of al-Shabab's security wing, NBC News reports. He reportedly survived the drone strike, in the Bay region of Somalia, but was severely burned and paralyzed from the waist down, and he eventually died from his injuries. There was no word on the other people in the vehicle with him.

The attack on the Westgate Mall killed at least 67 people and injured 200. Al-Shabab said it targeted the luxury shopping center to get revenge against the Kenyan government for helping Somalia in its fight against the terrorist group. Catherine Garcia

February 3, 2015

The Pentagon announced Tuesday that on Jan. 31, the United States conducted an airstrike against the al-Shabab militant organization in Somalia.

"A little bit after 9 a.m. eastern time [Jan. 31] U.S. Special Operations Forces conducted a strike south of Mogadishu using unmanned aircraft and several hellfire missiles," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters. "This operation was a direct strike against the al-Shabab network and the terrorist group's chief of external operations and planning for intelligence and security."

Kirby said that they are still assessing the results of the operation, which targeted senior al-Shabab leader Yusuf Dheeq. The strike was done in coordination with the government of Somalia, ABC News reports, and there were no known civilian casualties. Catherine Garcia

December 30, 2014

The U.S. targeted an al-Shabab leader in Somalia with an airstrike on Monday. The operation came four months after another U.S. airstrike reportedly killed the al Qaeda-linked Islamist terrorist group's head, Ahmed Abdi Godane, following the capture of its intelligence chief. The U.S. designated al-Shabab as a terrorist organization in 2008. The group has launched a string of attacks on civilians in Uganda and Kenya, including a 2013 siege at a Nairobi mall that killed more than 60 people. The Week Staff

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