Three airstrikes targeted al-Shabaab extremists in Somalia on Sunday, one day after a deadly car bombing in Mogadishu claimed scores of lives and left dozens of people injured.
The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) said it conducted the airstrikes near Qunyo Barrow and Caliyoow Barrow in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia. Four terrorists were killed in the strikes.
“Since al-Shabaab’s first external attack in 2010, the group has ruthlessly killed hundreds,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, director of operations for AFRICOM. “They have attacked and killed African partners, allies, and fellow Americans. They are a global menace and their sights are set on exporting violence regionally and eventually attacking the U.S. homeland.”
The attacks were coordinated with the Somali government, which remained focused on its response to Saturday’s bombing on a busy street crowded with people. The victims included students from Benadir University, as well as two Turkish nationals who were killed, according to that country’s foreign ministry.
Their bodies were flown back to Ankara on Sunday, along with 16 critically injured patients who will receive medical care in Turkey. Somali President Mohamed Farmaajo was on hand at the airport to send them off and expressed gratitude for Turkey’s assistance.
Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire delivered an address to the nation, noting that he has convened a national team to coordinate the response. Speaking to both Somalia and the international community, he urged assistance to those in need in the wake of the attacks.
“This country is in a state of war,” he added. The terrorists target Somali civilians but “the morale of the Somali people won’t be undermined by the terrorists’ attacks.”