MOGADISHU, Somalia — The U.S. military said Thursday it has killed seven al-Shabab fighters in a series of airstrikes in Somalia as the Trump administration steps up efforts against the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa.
A statement from the U.S. African Command said the three airstrikes were carried out Wednesday and Thursday in Jilib, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southwest of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.
The airstrikes were carried out with Somali forces, the statement said.
The U.S. military has carried out several airstrikes against fighters with the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab in Somalia since President Donald Trump early this year approved expanded military operations against the group, including more aggressive airstrikes and considering parts of southern Somalia areas of active hostilities.
The U.S. and Somalia have said strikes in recent weeks have killed al-Shabab leaders responsible for planning and executing deadly attacks in Mogadishu.
On Aug. 10, the U.S. military announced two new airstrikes against al-Shabab extremists and Somalia’s president said the joint operation killed a high-level leader of the group.
On Aug. 4, the U.S. military confirmed that al-Shabab commander Ali Mohamed Hussein had been killed in an airstrike in southern Somalia. Also known as Ali Jabal, he had been blamed for a number of deadly attacks in Mogadishu and was the highest-level al-Shabab commander killed this year.
The Somalia-based al-Shabab often targets Mogadishu with deadly bombings in high-profile areas such as hotels and military checkpoints. The extremist group aims to destabilize the fragile federal government that is trying to recover after a quarter-century of conflict.