When then-candidate Donald Trump first ran for office, he vowed that as president he would take the fight to radical Islamic terrorists, even famously saying on one occasion that he would “bomb the s**t” out of them.
Trump has certainly lived up to that campaign promise since taking office, particularly with regard to the al Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia. Another airstrike killed 26 militants in Central Somalia on Thursday, the U.S. military reported.
Deadly airstrikes against Al-Shabaab
Airstrikes in the same area earlier this week killed 55 al-Shabaab militants. A press release from U.S. Africa Command said that the airstrikes were launched in coordination with the Somali government and were believed to have successfully avoided any innocent civilians.
The deputy director of intelligence for U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, said in a statement, “This action is demonstrative of the Federal Government of Somalia’s commitment to dismantling al-Shabaab’s network with U.S. assistance.”
“Precision airstrikes such as this one maintain pressure on al-Shabaab and disrupt its planning cycle and degrade its ability to mass forces and coordinate attacks against the Somali people,” added Hadfield.
The press release noted that this strike was a small part of the larger strategy to keep continuous pressure on the jihadist group to prevent them from effectively recruiting or launching terror attacks in the region.
Continuous series of airstrikes
Indeed, a survey of U.S. Africa Command’s press release website showed that U.S. forces conducted strikes against al-Shabaab no less than eight other times in the month of February, all designed to degrade and demoralize the terrorist group by destroying their encampments and targeting militants wherever they gather.
Thursday’s airstrike followed car-bomb attacks by the jihadists in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. A pair of explosions on Thursday left at least 24 people dead and wounded at least 50 others.
Meanwhile, the Somali government claimed that its soldiers had engaged in running gun battles with the militants responsible for the bombings, which had apparently been used as cover by the jihadists to try and take out certain high-level targets, such as the chief judge of the nation’s appeals court.
Keep bombing the s**t out of them
Al-Shabaab controls significant portions of Somalia outside the major cities and has long posed a threat to the entire East African region.
The U.S. military is working in conjunction with Somalian forces, who are expected to take over primary responsibility within a few years.
It remains to be seen just how effective the consistent airstrikes against the jihadist group will be over the long run, but at least one thing has been made clear, the U.S. military under President Trump will continue to “bomb the s**t” out of them whenever they slither out of hiding.