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US airstrike kills over 100 al-Shabab militants: Pentagon

The file photo shows an American RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircraft in flight.

The US military says it has killed more than 100 militants in an airstrike on a camp of the al-Shabab extremist group in Somalia.

In a statement on Tuesday, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the aerial raid was carried out 125 miles (200 kilometers) northwest of the capital Mogadishu.

"In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, US forces conducted an airstrike in Somalia against an al-Shabab camp on Tuesday, November 21, at approximately 10:30 am local Somalia time (0730 GMT), killing more than 100 militants," the statement read.

There have been many ambiguities surrounding US drone strikes and bombardments in the rural regions of Somalia, a war-torn country still reeling from more than two decades of militancy. Local sources say such attacks have also inflicted casualties among civilians.

The latest airstrike is a clear indication of growing US military involvement in Somalia after US President Donald Trump ordered an expansion to the operations against the al-Qaeda-linked extremist group, approving more aggressive airstrikes in the country.

The Pentagon revealed on Thursday that the United States now has some 500 troops on the ground in Somalia even as it denies a “build-up” of forces in the country.

Somalia has been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab since 2006.

The Takfiri militant group was forced out of the capital by the African Union troops in 2011 but still controls parts of the countryside and carries out attacks against government, military and civilian targets seemingly at will in Mogadishu and regional towns.

The extremist group is just one of the challenges facing the new Somali government, which is still struggling to expand its authority beyond the capital and other selected areas.

AFRICOM, which was established in 2008 under then US President George W. Bush, has been operating in at least 35 countries across the African continent.

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