More a week after an attack by al-Shabaab that killed three Americans, including a soldier, the Pentagon announced a deadly airstrike was carried out in Somalia on the designated terrorist group.
U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM, said the strikes were conducted in the area of Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, on Thursday, killing two members of the group. The State Department has designated al-Shabaab as a Foreign Terrorist Organization affiliated with al-Qaeda.
“Al-Shabaab presents a threat to America, the African people, and our international partners,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler of AFRICOM. No civilians were killed or injured in the airstrikes.
During a briefing on Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman didn’t elaborate when he was asked about what the agency will do in response to the attack.
“We are continuing to work with Kenya on efforts against al-Shabaab. … I can’t speak to future operations against al-Shabaab, but we are working with our forces in Kenya and our partners there to degrade the threat that is in Kenya,” he told the Military Times.
The Pentagon said two of its personnel and an Army soldier were killed in the early January terrorist attack on the Manda Bay base in Kenya. The family of the slain soldier, Henry Mayfield, confirmed his death shortly after the attack.
“He loved his family and spending quality time with his siblings,” Carmoneta, Mayfield’s mother, said in a statement to local media. “I last spoke with him New Year’s Day via FaceTime. We discussed him not having to go to Somalia and he told me everything was good and safe at his base. He told me everything would be okay. Those were his last words to me.”
The Manda Bay attack follows a truck bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Dec. 28 that left at least 80 people dead, for which al-Shabaab claimed responsibility.
But this week, al-Shabaab was blamed for a terrorist attack on a primary school in Kenya that left three teachers dead. The incident happened around 2 a.m. in Kamuthe near the Kenya-Somalia border, CNN reported. The group also shot and killed four children at a police post in a nearby area.
The assailants also attacked a police station in the attack, wrote the National Kenya Police Service on Twitter.
Al-Shabaab has carried out several attacks on public places, including schools and a hotel inside of Kenya. Terrorists also killed 147 people in an attack on a Kenyan university campus near the Somali border.
“Al-Shabaab resorts to lies, coercion, and the exertion of force to bolster their reputation to create false headlines,” Gayler said in a statement in early January. “It is important to counter al-Shabaab where they stand to prevent the spread of this cancer.”