USA airstrike kills eight al Shabaab militants in Somalia

Somalia soldiers take part in a military exercise at their camp in Dusamareeb. /REUTERS

The US is targeting training camps and other sites to reduce al-Shabab's the military capacity, said Mr Roggio, who predicts the airstrikes in Somalia will continue at the current pace or increase.

But those strikes, analysts say, can only contain al-Shabab and perhaps keep it from gaining significant new territory.

These were the deadliest air attacks in Somalia since November 2017 when the U.S. said it had killed 100 militants.

"I think the single most significant reason why al-Shabab has been able to claw back into Somalia is that Somalia lacks any kind of an effective, strong, central government", he said.

With these attacks, United States forces have carried out at least 46 airstrikes so far this year against al-Shabaab, which is allied to al-Qaida and Africa's most active Islamic extremist group.

The group retained control over large parts of the country, and the ability to carry out high-profile attacks using suicide bombers, explosive devices, mortars and small arms, the report added.

The strikes were carried out in close coordination with Somalia's government and were "conducted to prevent al-Shabab from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire, and recruit for future attacks", said the US military statement.

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That number rose to 31 in 2017 and at least 45 this year.

Al-Shabab, which is allied with al-Qaida and is working to implement Shariah law in Somalia, has long used the Gandarshe region to launch attacks against its enemies.

The military's Africa Command (Africom) said four strikes were carried out on Saturday, killing 34 militants, and two more on Sunday, which killed 28.

It was in 2011 that the Al-Qaeda affiliated group was pushed out of Mogadishu, the Somali capital and subsequently from other key towns including the port city of Kismayu. In October a year ago, a massive truck bomb killed more than 500 people.

The airstrikes targeted members of the al-Shabab extremist group in Somalia.

Together with other AMISOM forces, the U.S. said it conducted the airstrikes to prevent terrorists from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire, and recruit for future attacks in Somalia and the region.

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