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US targeted Islamic State group leader in airstrike last month: Report

U.S. forces launched an airstrike last month in Somalia targeting the leader of the Islamic State group, Abdulqadir Mumin. However, according to U.S. officials, it is unknown whether Mumin was one of the three militants belonging to the group who were killed in the strike.

U.S. Africa Command released a statement May 31 about the strike, which did not result in any civilian deaths. AFRICOM did not include any information about the target, however, according to a report from NBC News, three unnamed U.S. officials have since said it was Mumin.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence lists Mumin as the leader and founder of the Islamic State group’s Somalia affiliate, which has between 100 and 400 members. He has been a “specially designated global terrorist” since August 2016. The unnamed U.S. officials said he became the global leader of the terrorist group after his predecessor, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, died in combat in October 2022 in Syria.

Iraq and Syria are home to the largest concentrations of Islamic State group members, but U.S. forces have been effective against leadership there. One senior defense official told NBC News that leaders of the terrorist group view Africa as “a place where they should invest, where they are more permissive and able to operate better and more freely, and they want to expand the ISIS cell there. So they did bring the caliph to that region.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

The group in Somalia “uses small arms and IEDs to conduct small-scale, sporadic attacks and assassination operations against Somali Government officials and security forces, government-affiliated civilians, Puntland security forces, Africa Union Mission in Somalia peacekeepers, business owners refusing to pay extortion demands, and al-Shabaab,” according to the ODNI.

“Somalia remains central to the security environment in East Africa,” according to AFRICOM. “U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to degrade ISIS.”

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