US Service Member Injured in Terror Attack on Somali Military Base

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A member of the Italian military stands next to a damaged armored personnel carrier after an attack on a European Union military convoy in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
A member of the Italian military stands next to a damaged armored personnel carrier after an attack on a European Union military convoy in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

A U.S. service member was injured in a pair of targeted attacks by a terror group in Somalia this week.

One American service member was assessed for a concussion as part of standard protocol after Al-Shabaab terrorists attacked Baledogle Military Airfield on Monday with a car bomb, officials with U.S. Africa Command said in a statement Tuesday.

The attack took place at the base, about 60 miles outside the capital city of Mogadishu. The U.S. forces train troops and operate drones from the base. U.S. military officials initially reported that no American or partner forces had been hurt in the attack, which U.S. officials called "ineffective."

But it "demonstrates the direct threat Al-Shabaab poses to Americans, our allies, and interests in the region," Maj. Gen. William Gayler, U.S. Africa Command's director of operations, said in a statement.

Related: Extremists Attack US Military Base in Somalia, Official Says

"Incidents like this will not compromise the pressure being placed on this terrorist network by the Federal Government of Somalia and international partners," Gayler said.

A second attack took place in Mogadishu, The Washington Post reported, when the terror group bombed an Italian military convoy as it headed back to base from a European Union training exercise.

AFRICOM, in coordination with the Somali government, struck back. The command took out 10 terrorists and the vehicle used in the base attack with small-arms fire and an airstrike.

A separate airstrike Monday killed another terrorist near Qunyo Barrow, an area along the coast southeast of Mogadishu, officials said.

"This strike demonstrates that U.S. and Somali forces will continue to take every opportunity to counter and degrade the capacity of Al-Shabaab to plan and conduct attacks," Air Force Col. Chris Karns, an AFRICOM spokesman, said Tuesday. "Continued pressure on Al-Shabaab impacts their ability to further export violence across Somalia and elsewhere."

The U.S. has carried out 54 airstrikes on terrorist targets in Somalia this year. That includes Al-Shabaab and Islamic State in Somalia militants, fighting positions, infrastructure and equipment, according to U.S. officials.

The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, which collects data and analysis on terror groups and violence across several continents, says Al-Shabaab has grown to become Africa's most active and lethal actor.

Since 2008, its militants have numbered more than 8,400 and have been linked to more than 22,000 deaths, according to the project.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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