US conducts air strikes

WASHINGTON – The US military has carried out an air strike in Somalia against al Shabaab, an al Qaida-linked Islamist insurgency that wanted to overthrow Somalia’s weak UN-backed government, US officials said on Monday.

The strike took place at 11:30 GMT on July 2, the Pentagon said. It did not disclose additional information about the strike, including specific militant targets.

“We are currently assessing the results of the operation, and will provide additional information as appropriate,” said Army Major Audricia Harris, a spokeswoman.

Since being pushed out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011, al Shabaab has lost control of most of Somalia’s cities and towns. But it retained a strong presence in swathes of the south and centre and carried out major gun and bomb attacks.

The group aimed to topple Somalia’s government, drive out African Union peacekeeping troops and impose its own harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

The latest strike came a month after a U.S. drone strike in Somalia, which the Pentagon estimated killed eight militants.

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