A U.S. service member suffered a concussion injury from Monday’s attack by the terrorist group al-Shabab at a U.S. military airfield in Somalia, according to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
In the aftermath of the attack, defense officials reported that there were no injuries or casualties at the Baledogle Military Airfield. However, on Tuesday AFRICOM officials clarified that one U.S. service member suffered a concussion injury.
The attack on Baledogle Military Airfield was one of two attacks conducted by al-Shabab in Somalia on Monday.
In the attack on the U.S military airfield, a suicide car bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives at the airstrip gate, according to Yusuf Abdourahman, a regional administrative security official. The U.S. military conducted a self-defense airstrike in response to the attack, killing 10 militants, according to an AFRICOM news release on Monday.
The second attack — also a suicide car bomber — targeted Italian peacekeepers in the state capital of Mogadishu. The explosion missed the European Union peacekeepers, but there were reports that some Somali civilians were injured in the attack. AFRICOM disclosed that there was another airstrike in the country on Tuesday targeting one al-Shabab militant in a separate part of Somalia.
“This strike demonstrates that U.S. and Somali forces will continue to take every opportunity to counter and degrade the capacity of al-Shabab to plan and conduct attacks,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Chris Karns, AFRICOM spokesman. “Continued pressure on al-Shabab impacts their ability to further export violence across Somalia and elsewhere.”
In total, the U.S. military has conducted 54 airstrikes against the Islamic State and al-Shabab in Somalia this year. Forty-three of those have targeted al-Shabab militants specifically. The pace of those strikes is expected to eclipse last year’s total of 47 strikes against al-Shabab.
AFRICOM officials have attributed the high number of strikes to the increased partnership between U.S. and Somali forces, not an increase in the terror group’s capabilities.
There are between 650 and 800 U.S. troops in Somalia at any given time, mainly training and advising Somali forces in their fight against various terror groups.