Somalia
Somalia iStock

The US military on Tuesday conducted an air strike against Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab jihadists, the first since President Joe Biden took office, the Pentagon said, according to AFP.

The US military command for Africa (AFRICOM), in coordination with the Somali government, "conducted one air strike in the vicinity of Galkayo, Somalia today against Al-Shabaab," Pentagon spokeswoman Cindi King told the news agency.

The strike, 700 kilometers (430 miles) northeast of Mogadishu, targeted Al-Shabaab Islamists, King said.

"A battle-damage assessment is still pending due to the ongoing engagement between al-Shabaab and Somali forces, however the command's initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this strike," she added.

The strike is the first conducted by the US military in Somalia since January 19, a day before Biden’s inauguration, when AFRICOM announced it had killed three Al-Shabaab jihadists in two strikes in Jamaame and Deb Scinnele.

Drone strikes against jihadists multiplied during former President Donald Trump's term, going from 11 in Somalia in 2015, to 64 in 2019 and 54 in 2020, according to the non-governmental group Airwars, which monitors civilian deaths in bombings around the world.

The leader of Al-Shabaab, Ahmed Godane, was killed in a US air strike in 2014.

Since taking charge of Al-Shabaab in 2008, Godane had restyled the group as a global player in the Al-Qaeda network, carrying out bombings and suicide attacks in Somalia and elsewhere in the region, including the September 21, 2013, attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that killed 67 people.