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US military says it killed nearly three dozen terrorists over the weekend in an airstrike in Somalia

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The terrorists were part of the al-Shabaab network

Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. military announced that it killed around 35 al-Shabaab terrorists in an airstrike in Somalia.

According to a statement released on Monday by U.S. Africa Command, the airstrike took place on Sunday near Beledweyne in the Hiran Region of Somalia. The strike was part of a collaboration with the Somali National Army to root out the al-Shabaab network.

It also said that no civilians had been harmed in this most recent strike, which took place as terrorists "were transitioning between two locations in a rural area."

Al-Shabaab is a radical Islamist group that seeks to overthrow the existing government in Somalia and establish one that rules by the dictates of Sharia law. It has also conducted strikes outside of Somali borders, including terror attacks in Kenya and Uganda. The U.S. is allied with the Somali government and has been trying to help it defeat this threat. Last year, the U.S. carried out 35 airstrikes.

"We continue to support our Somali partners, especially when their operations provide us opportunities to take the fight to Al-Shabaab as an element of our partnered strategy," Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, the director of operations for U.S. Africa Command, said in a statement. "In the case of this strike, we interrupted an Al Shabaab attempt to mass their forces. Precision strikes eliminated a potential threat to our partners and to the people of Somalia well before the terrorists ever got themselves organized."

According to CNN, the U.S. Department of Defense said there are between 3,000 to 4,000 al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia. President Donald Trump ordered the military to target al-Shabaab in Somalia using airstrikes in March 2017. In addition to al-Shabaab, there are somewhere between 70 and 250 ISIS fighters in Somalia, according to estimates from August.

There are currently about 500 U.S. troops in the country.

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