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US confirms airstrike on ISIS leader in Somalia, death unverified

US confirms airstrike on ISIS leader in Somalia, death unverified

The United States carried out a major military operation aimed at the world leader of ISIS in Somalia. On May 31, the US announced that three militants were killed in an airstrike in Somalia. Still, officials do not know if the main target, IS leader Abdulqadir Mumin, was among the dead.

According to the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), the airstrike took place in a remote area 50 miles southeast of Bosaso, Somalia, and successfully eliminated three ISIS militants without causing any casualties. civilian victims While AFRICOM's initial statement did not reveal the identities of those targeted, three US officials have since confirmed that Mumin was the intended target.

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Abdul Qadir Mumin, publicly recognized as the head of ISIS in Somalia, rose quietly to become the terrorist organization's global leader last year. The U.S. government has accused Mumin of orchestrating numerous deadly attacks in Somalia, including the 2019 killing of a judicial official and the 2016 capture and prolonged occupation of a town in the Puntland region.

Abdulqadir Mumin also known as Abdul al-Qadir Mumin Founder and leader. Credit: National Counterterrorism Center

A senior administration official confirmed the strike targeted a senior ISIS figure, but withheld the name, noting that verification of the outcome is ongoing. Another senior defense official stressed that the ISIS presence in Somalia consists of about 100 to 200 fighters in the northern region, although ISIS cells exist in other parts of Africa, such as Libya , the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique.

Despite being heavily targeted by US operations in Iraq and Syria, ISIS continues to maintain thousands of fighters around the world, particularly in northern Iraq and northeastern Syria. The senior defense official stressed that ISIS views Africa as a strategic area for expansion because of its permissive environment, which allows the group to operate more freely.

In 2016, the US designated Mumin as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, citing his significant threat to US national security. Mumin succeeded Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, who was killed in action in Syria in late 2022. Previous ISIS leaders, including the notorious Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, killed themselves to avoid the captured during US military operations.


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