USA strikes ISIS in Somalia for first time

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The US Africa Command said two drone strikes had taken place in northeastern Somalia, with the first coming at midnight local time on Friday and the second later in the morning.

The militants are led by former Shabaab cleric Abdiqadir Mumin, who switched allegiance from Al-Qaeda to IS in October 2015 and was named a "global terrorist" by the US State Department in August.

The US Army has reportedly conducted two air strikes on ISIS targets in Somalia, hitting the village of Buqa in the northern state of Puntland.

These are the first American military strikes against ISIS, which has developed a small presence in the Horn of Africa.

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It is reported that this was the first shot of the US air force against the Islamists in Somalia.

It also comes the same day President Donald Trump told reporters the USA military would dramatically ramp up military operations against the terrorist group following an attack in NY earlier this week by a man claiming allegiance to ISIS.

United States special operations forces teams, along with USA air power, have periodically operated inside Somalia in recent years against the al-Shabaab terrorist group, which has been responsible for plotting and executing attacks targeting Westerners throughout eastern Africa and beyond. Al-Shabab was blamed for carrying out Somalia's deadliest attack last month, a massive truck bombing in the capital, Mogadishu, that killed more than 350 people. It's also unclear if Friday's strikes in Somalia were linked to Trump's claim the military is being "much harder" on the terrorist group after the New York City attack.

Somalia is preparing for an offensive with African Union forces meant to push al-Shabab fighters out of their strongholds in Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regions.

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