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US AFRICOM Confirms Airstrike Against al-Shabaab Killed Militant, Civilian Casualties Unclear

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US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced on Thursday it had carried out an airstrike in coordination with the Somali government against a checkpoint used by the militant group al-Shabaab.

AFRICOM said on Thursday the airstrike hit a checkpoint "in [the] vicinity of Hantiwadaag."

The Germany-based command said its initial assessment was that one terrorist had been killed and there were no civilian casualties. AFRICOM's operation in Somalia is justified by connections between al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda.

However, AFRICOM recently bowed to the pressure of critics and began to reassess some of its air attacks in years past that it had reported killed no innocent bystanders. As Sputnik has reported, the methodology used by the Pentagon to judge an airstrike's validity no longer takes civilians into account, assuming that all persons present in the area of a potential strike are enemy combatants.

The pace of US airstrikes in Somalia has increased dramatically in 2020. By the end of April, AFRICOM had carried out 39 airstrikes in the East African nation in four months' time: more than had taken place in all eight years of Barack Obama's presidency, according to The Intercept

An explosion in the Somali capital on Saturday killed at least five people, and two Somali police officers were killed on Wednesday when their jeep struck a landmine in Mogadishu.
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