U.S. forces in Somalia bombed and killed seven ISIS fighters Tuesday in retaliation for an attack on local partner forces backed by the U.S. who were being advised by American troops, U.S. Africa Command said Wednesday.
“U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against ISIS-Somalia terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Timirshe, Somalia, July 21,” the command said in a statement, according to CNN. “When this airstrike occurred, U.S. forces were in the area in order to advise and assist Somali and partner forces.”
The airstrike, which was conducted Tuesday, was the first reported since October. It was not immediately clear whether US personnel were directly involved, CNN reported.
No civilians were killed or injured in the strike, U.S. Africa Command said in a statement, according to The Hill.
Timirshe is 87 miles southeast of Bosasso, Somalia.
A strike against ISIS in Somalia is relatively rare, Stars & Stripes noted, with U.S. forces more often targeting the al Qaeda affiliate al Shabaab, the 5,000-member fighting group that has been fighting the country’s central government for more than 10 years, is much larger than ISIS there, and thus poses the greater security threat.
ISIS in Somalia has about 300 followers, Stars & Stripes said. Most of them are based in the northeastern Puntland region, according to CNN. The U.S. has about 500 troops in Somalia tasked with training and advising local forces combating al Shabaab and the local ISIS affiliate, CNN said.
But all terrorist groups are up for grabs because of their “bankrupt narratives and visions of the future,” U.S. Africa Command spokesman Col. Chris Karns told Stars & Stripes. “Our partnership to unmask and degrade the capability of these terrorists is essential to security and stability in Somalia.”