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Drone Strike on Somalia Marks US Escalation Against Al Shabab

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Common Dreams staff

Photo: AFP

A U.S. drone strike in Somalia on Monday killed two people described in corporate media reports as "suspected Al Shabab militants."

Monday's strike marks the first U.S. drone attack on Somalia since last year, and, the New York Times reports,

is the latest evidence that the Obama administration has decided to escalate operations against the Shabab in the aftermath of the bloody siege at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last month in which more than 60 men, women and children were killed.

Earlier this month, U.S. Navy SEALs launched a failed raid in Somalia to "kill or capture" a person the Pentagon described as "a known al-Shabaab terrorist."

Reporting on Monday's drone strike, the Toronto Star writes:

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The men targeted were in a car driving from the coastal town of Barawe to Jilib, an area south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu that is largely controlled by the Shabab, Al Qaeda’s East African group.

"It was after afternoon prayers between 1:30pm and 2pm when I heard a loud bang. Just one big bang," a witness identified as Jilib told Al Jazeera.  "I came to the scene shortly after. I saw two dead bodies. Then al-Shabab fighters came to scene and took the bodies from the Suzuki vehicle. It was a drone strike."

One of the two men killed was reportedly Ibrahim Ali, also known as Anta, referred to as al Shabab's explosives expert.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that as many as 15 civilians in Somalia have been killed by U.S. drones strikes since 2007.

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