WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) – The US military said it carried out an air strike against al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia on Friday, the second such operation this week.
The Pentagon said the attack took place near Galmudug, Somalia, stressing that no US forces were accompanying Somali troops during the operation.
It came just three days after a similar US strike against the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamist group seeking to overthrow the Somali government and enforce its strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.
“US forces are empowered to carry out collective self-defense attacks in support of combatants named by commanders,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
Al Shabaab has targeted Somali military bases and civil infrastructure such as hotels, bars and schools in both Somalia and neighboring countries.
The strikes came when some of President Joe Biden’s Democrats tried to restrict the war powers that authorize such military action overseas.
On Thursday, several lawmakers, including Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who heads a key Senate External Relations subcommittee, criticized the Pentagon for carrying out the attacks even when US forces were not in danger.
“It is time to get rid of questionable legal justifications used by government after government for such acts of war,” Murphy said in a statement.
Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Letter from Phil Stewart; Adaptation by Giles Elgood
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