The U.S. has launched a series of secret air strikes against the Al Shabaab terror group ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to East Africa, CNN reported Wednesday night.
The nearly half-dozen strikes in Somalia were a result of increased chatter that an attack against Kenyan troops was imminent, according to the cable-news outlet. They reportedly occurred within the past week.
One analyst said the U.S. was sending a signal with the attacks.
"This sends a very clear message to Al-Shabaab not to try to attempt anything against the president," Seth Jones, a Rand Corporation analyst, told CNN.
[sharequote="center"]"This sends a very clear message to Al-Shabaab not to try to attempt anything against the president."[/sharequote]
A direct attack against Obama is not a concern, officials said, but they fear the terror group could attempt to strike a softer target.
"What's most likely is not an attack against a U.S. government official like the president, but an attack that happens while the president is there," Jones told CNN. "Security for the president is likely to be very significant and that means what Al-Shabaab is likely to do, based on what it has done very recently, is go for a soft target."
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