airstrikes
February 25, 2021

President Biden on Thursday ordered airstrikes against facilities in eastern Syria used by Iranian-backed militant groups, the Pentagon said. This is the Biden administration's first military action.

The strikes were in response to several rocket attacks against U.S. targets in Iraq, including one earlier this month in Irbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region. This attack killed one non-American civilian contractor and injured a U.S. service member and several American contractors.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the strikes destroyed several facilities at a "border control point" used by the Kata'ib Hezbollah and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada militant groups. "President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel," Kirby stated. "At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq."

A U.S. official told Reuters by having airstrikes that were limited in scope, Biden sent a message to the Iranian-backed militias without sparking a bigger conflict. Kata'ib Hezbollah is the primary Iranian-backed militia in Iraq, and earlier this week the group said it wasn't behind any of the recent rocket attacks. Catherine Garcia

December 30, 2019

The United States carried out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Sunday, targeting weapons and munitions depots used by Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia.

Over the last two months, there have been 11 rocket attacks against bases used by the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State. U.S. officials said Sunday's airstrikes were in response to an attack that took place in Kirkuk, Iraq, on Friday, which left one U.S. contractor dead and four U.S. troops injured.

Kataib Hezbollah is connected to Iran's paramilitary Quds Forces, U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal, and the Pentagon said the airstrikes are meant to serve as a warning to stop attacking the coalition's bases. A Kataib Hezbollah official said 25 members of the militia were killed in the airstrikes. Catherine Garcia

March 20, 2019

U.S. military officials are disputing a new Amnesty International report released Tuesday alleging U.S. airstrikes in Somalia have killed or injured almost two dozen civilians.

Amnesty International says it interviewed 65 witnesses and survivors of five airstrikes and examined satellite images and additional data. The organization determined there is "credible evidence" the U.S. was behind four of the five airstrikes, and it's plausible it was responsible for the fifth. The strikes killed 14 civilians and left eight injured.

The U.S. military is conducting operations against al-Shabaab, a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda. In 2018, the U.S. was responsible for 47 airstrikes that killed 338 militants, and so far this year, more than 230 militants have been killed in 28 airstrikes.

U.S. Africa Command officials said it has concluded there were no civilian deaths in the first four airstrikes reported by Amnesty International, and in the fifth case, the U.S. did not have any airstrikes in the vicinity on that day. Defense officials told The Associated Press that al-Shabaab lies about civilian deaths and threatens locals into doing the same. Catherine Garcia

May 7, 2015

A U.S. drone strike in Yemen killed a senior leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) who had claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack and other killings, the group announced Thursday.

AQAP confirmed the death of Nasr bin Ali al-Ansi and other operatives in a video. Al-Ansi often appeared in taped messages himself, including one released after the January Charlie Hebdo massacre where al-Ansi said AQAP "chose the target, laid the plan, and financed the operation," NBC News reports. Al-Ansi also declared in a separate video that AQAP was responsible for killing Luke Somers, a 33-year-old American hostage, after two failed attempts by the U.S. military to rescue him. Catherine Garcia

March 18, 2015

Adan Garar, the mastermind of the 2013 terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, was killed last Thursday when as many as three Hellfire missiles struck the vehicle he was in, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

Garar was said to be a member of al-Shabab's security wing, NBC News reports. He reportedly survived the drone strike, in the Bay region of Somalia, but was severely burned and paralyzed from the waist down, and he eventually died from his injuries. There was no word on the other people in the vehicle with him.

The attack on the Westgate Mall killed at least 67 people and injured 200. Al-Shabab said it targeted the luxury shopping center to get revenge against the Kenyan government for helping Somalia in its fight against the terrorist group. Catherine Garcia

February 3, 2015

The Pentagon announced Tuesday that on Jan. 31, the United States conducted an airstrike against the al-Shabab militant organization in Somalia.

"A little bit after 9 a.m. eastern time [Jan. 31] U.S. Special Operations Forces conducted a strike south of Mogadishu using unmanned aircraft and several hellfire missiles," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters. "This operation was a direct strike against the al-Shabab network and the terrorist group's chief of external operations and planning for intelligence and security."

Kirby said that they are still assessing the results of the operation, which targeted senior al-Shabab leader Yusuf Dheeq. The strike was done in coordination with the government of Somalia, ABC News reports, and there were no known civilian casualties. Catherine Garcia

December 30, 2014

The U.S. targeted an al-Shabab leader in Somalia with an airstrike on Monday. The operation came four months after another U.S. airstrike reportedly killed the al Qaeda-linked Islamist terrorist group's head, Ahmed Abdi Godane, following the capture of its intelligence chief. The U.S. designated al-Shabab as a terrorist organization in 2008. The group has launched a string of attacks on civilians in Uganda and Kenya, including a 2013 siege at a Nairobi mall that killed more than 60 people. The Week Staff

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