US air-strikes target Shabaab 'encampment'

More than 60 were killed in US air-strikes that targeted "a known al-Shabaab encampment" near southern Somalia's Gandarshe town Dec. 15-6. US Africa Command (AFRICOM) asserted that no civilians were killed and that the strikes were launched to "prevent terrorists from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire, and recruit for future attacks." These were the deadliest air-strikes in Somalia since November 2017 when the US said it killed 100 militants. The targeting of Shabaab increased after March 2017, when the Trump administration loosened restrictions on the US military to use force against the insurgent army. The US military has now struck Shabaab targets 45 times in 2018, compared with 31 times last year. The US has a huge military base in neighboring Djibouti, from where it launches air-raids on the militants. (Long War Journal, BBC News)

More terror in Mogadishu

At least 13 people were killed and 17 wounded in a double car bomb attack claimed by al-Shabaab close to the president's residence in the Somali capital Mogadishu. Among those killed were a journalist and a driver working for local station Universal TV, as well as two members of the security forces. (Reuters, Dec. 22)

US air-strike in Somalia kills 52

The US military said it had carried out its deadliest air-strike in Somalia in months, killing 52 Shaabab militants after a "large group" mounted an attack on Somali forces. US Africa Command said the airstrike occurred near Jilib in the Middle Juba region. (Military Times)