National Security

U.S. Launches Airstrike on ISIS Operatives in Somalia

A member of the Iraqi forces walks past a mural bearing the logo of the Islamic State / Getty Images

The U.S. launched a drone strike in northern Somalia that killed at least seven Islamic State operatives, the Long War Journal reported Thursday.

Though the kill count has not yet been confirmed by an independent source, the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced it deployed the drone in concurrence with autonomous regional security forces against an ISIS-Somalia contingent on July 21. It said no civilian casualties occurred as a result of the military action.

In its own statement, Somalia claims more than 20 ISIS fighters were killed in the operation. ISIS media retorted with a falsified account of the standoff, claiming it killed and wounded seven members of the joint anti-terrorist contingent.

The Islamic State has extensive operations throughout North Africa—6,000 fighters in nine different terror cells, one of which is located in Somalia. The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point estimates ISIS-Somalia has between 100 and 300 fighters. ISIS-Somalia claimed responsibility for 67 attacks as of summer 2018, and more since.

"We continue to apply pressure on terrorist groups and assist our Somali partners in disrupting their operations," said Brigadier General Miguel Castellanos, AFRICOM's deputy director of operations. "We continue our support to rid Somalia of the likes of ISIS and al-Shabaab."