US Conducts Airstrike in Somalia

The US conducted a defensive airstrike against about 20 Al Shabaab fighters in southern Somalia on Thursday morning, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters. US Special Forces on the ground in Somalia in an advise and assist role called in the airstrike after Ugandan forces came under fire from Al Shabaab militants, said Davis. The Ugandan troops, part of the African Union Mission in Somalia effort, were conducting a raid against an illegal taxation checkpoint when they were attacked. The US troops who called in the airstrike were nearby but not involved in the firefight, Davis said. Officials estimate that five Al Shabaab fighters were killed in the strike; Davis declined to identify the aircraft or to specify whether it was remotely piloted, though he did say the US “typically” uses unmanned aircraft in Somalia. (See also: Strike Killed Al Shabaab Leader.)