There has been no sign of retaliation from Iran after a U.S. airstrike that killed one of the Middle Eastern nation’s top generals, Qassem Soleimani, raised tensions in the region to a new high.
But in Africa, the al-Qaida–linked terrorist group al-Shabab killed three Americans at a base in Kenya on Sunday, Fox News reported. The group denied that the attack had any connection with the death of Soleimani, which has put the American government on alert for threats against Americans at home and overseas.
Three Americans dead
American and African troops beat back the attack from al-Shabab terrorists at the Manda Bay compound in Kenya in the early morning Sunday, killing five al-Shabab fighters, the Kenyan military said. But the terrorists killed three Americans, including one American soldier and two contractors. Another two contractors were injured, but later stabilized.
“After an initial penetration of the perimeter, Kenya Defense Forces and U.S. Africa Command repelled the al-Shabab attack,” the U.S. Africa Command said in a statement, according to Fox.
The militants managed to blow up six aircraft on the strip before they were forced out of the base, Reuters reported. Five al-Shabab fighters were arrested after the attack.
American forces use the base in Kenya to train African troops and launch aerial attacks on terrorists in the region, which is threatened by jihadists in Somalia’s ongoing civil war. A coalition of African forces has worked with America to drive al-Shabab out of central and southern Somalia, where it is based and continues to stage attacks on civilian targets.
For its part, the terrorist group denied any link between Sunday’s attack and the airstrike that killed Soleimani, which has raised speculation of an Iranian response or lone wolf terrorism by Iranian proxies.
“This Kenya attack has no connection with the Middle East attack. It is a fight between us and the U.S.,” said Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab’s spokesman for military operations, according to Reuters.
The fight against terror
The Trump administration has been leading an airstrike campaign against al-Shabab in Somalia that has killed hundreds of fighters since 2017, the New York Post noted. The terror group continues to fight Somalia’s internationally supported government and its U.S.–African allies while striking terror with deadly attacks on civilian targets, like a recent Mogadishu car bombing that killed 79 people, prompting a retaliatory airstrike that killed seven fighters.
The base attack is part of a new effort by the group to threaten Kenyan targets, Reuters reported, and was the first time the group attacked American forces in Kenya, according to Fox. Last year, al-Shabab killed 21 people at a hotel and office complex in Nairobi — a deadly attack that came just years after a 2013 shooting at a shopping mall that killed 67 people.
The Kenyan attack comes amid fears of war in the Middle East as the United States and Iran trade threats in the aftermath of the killing of Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general. Soleimani’s killing came shortly after an attack on America’s embassy in Baghdad by Iranian-backed militiamen that followed a pair of mutual strikes that killed an American contractor and 25 of the militia’s members, according to the Associated Press.
The Trump administration said that Soleimani, who was behind the killings of hundreds of American soldiers, was planning attacks on Americans when he died — and his death has prompted fears of retaliation against American targets throughout the Middle East and indeed the world. While it doesn’t appear this attack was related to the situation in the Middle East, events there are developing rapidly.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Iraq ordered all foreign troops, including America’s remaining forces, to leave Sunday as Iran announced it would withdraw from the remaining terms of the 2015 Iran deal. Now, only time will tell what the future holds.