US Forces Uncertain About Success of ISIS Leader Strike in Somalia


US forces launched an airstrike in Somalia earlier this month targeting Abdulqadir Mumin, the leader of the Islamic State group’s Somalia affiliate. However, despite initial reports suggesting Mumin may have been killed in the strike, officials remain uncertain about the outcome, according to unnamed US officials.

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) released a statement on May 31 confirming the strike, which did not result in any civilian casualties. However, no information was provided about the target of the strike, with officials only sharing that it was believed to have involved three militants from the Islamic State group.

Mumin, designated a “specially designated global terrorist” since August 2016, is considered the founder and leader of the Islamic State group’s Somalia affiliate, which is believed to have between 100 and 400 members. His predecessor, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, died in combat in Syria in October 2022, with Mumin subsequently becoming the group’s global leader.

The Islamic State group is most prominent in Iraq and Syria, where US forces have been effective in targeting its leadership. However, senior defense officials have warned that leaders view Africa as a key location, where they can operate more freely, and are seeking to expand their presence. In Somalia, the group is known for carrying out small-scale attacks and assassination operations, primarily targeting government officials and security forces.

“Somalia remains central to the security environment in East Africa,” AFRICOM confirmed, with US forces continuing to provide training, advising, and equipping to Somali partner forces to degrade the Islamic State group.

Robert Stewart
Robert Stewart
North America Correspondent.

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