US forces on May 27 conducted an airstrike targeting a senior al-Shabaab leader in Somalia, the Pentagon said Wednesday. The strike targeted Abdullahi Haji Da’ud, a senior military commander for the group who was seen as a principal coordinator of al-Shabaab attacks in Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda. He had also served as the head of the Amniyat, the group’s security and intelligence branch. “Da’ud has been responsible for the loss of many innocent lives through attacks he has planned and carried out,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement. Killing Da’ud “will disrupt near-term attack planning” and save innocent lives, Cook said. The US and its partners are still assessing the results of the operation. US forces have repeatedly conducted strikes against al-Shabaab in Somalia recently, including on a training camp last month and on a senior leader in March. (See also: Changing Tactics in Somalia)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.