U.S. launches airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab after attack in Kenya

The Somali terrorist organization Al-Shabaab struck a military base in Kenya earlier this month, killing three American contractors and a U.S. soldier.

On Thursday, the United States hit back, launching an airstrike against al-Shabaab targets located near Qunyo Barrow, Somalia, killing two. 

Counter-terrorism strikes

“Al-Shabaab presents a threat to America, the African people, and our international partners,” announced U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler of AFRICOM in a statement.

“They are a known terrorist affiliate of al-Qaeda, who continue to radicalize and actively recruit. Persistent pressure on the network helps prevent its broader spread,” Gayler continued. The statement went on to say, “We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.”

It also contained a promise to “use all effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people, including partnered military counterterrorism operations with the Federal Government of Somalia and Somali National Army forces.”

The Military Times relayed comments from Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman about the incident. He was quoted as saying, “We are continuing to work with Kenya on efforts against al-Shabaab.

However, Hoffman didn’t provide details, explaining, “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.”

Soldier missed by loved ones

The U.S. soldier killed earlier this month was Henry Mayfield, Jr. of Chicago. The 23-year-old joined the Army in June of 2018 after attending Northern Illinois University.

“He loved his family and spending quality time with his siblings,” Mayfield’s mother declared in a statement released 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,” she concluded.

Al-Shabaab made headlines last fall when Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted support for Hormuud Telecom Somalia Inc., a company founded by Ahmed Nur Ali Jimale. Jimale is alleged to be one of the terror group’s chief financiers.

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