US air strikes in Somalia kill 37 militants

The aftermath of a suicide bomb in the Somali capital, Mogadishu on October 1, 2018 and claimed by Al-Shabab, 37 of whose members the US military said it killed in its latest air strikes. (AFP)
Updated 20 November 2018

US air strikes in Somalia kill 37 militants

  • The US military said the strikes were conducted in support of the Federal Government of Somalia
  • Last month, the US military said it had killed 60 Shabab fighters in a single air strike

WASHINGTON: US air strikes in Somalia killed an estimated 37 fighters from the militant group Al-Shabab, the US military said Tuesday.
The two air strikes were carried out Monday near Debatscile, the military’s Africa command said in a statement, adding that the “air strikes did not injure or kill any civilians.”
It said the first “precision strike” killed 27 militants in a “planned and deliberate action.” The second strike killed another 10 fighters.
The US military said the strikes were “conducted in support of the Federal Government of Somalia as it continues to degrade Al-Shabab.”
Last month, the US military said it had killed 60 Shabab fighters in a single air strike, the largest since an air raid on one of the group’s training camps that killed around 100 fighters in November 2017.
Air assaults and missile strikes have increased in recent months against Shabab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate fighting to overthrow the internationally backed Somali government in Mogadishu, which has the support of an African Union force.


UK relatives of Daesh ‘Beatles’ victims relieved as trial nears

Updated 23 September 2020

UK relatives of Daesh ‘Beatles’ victims relieved as trial nears

  • The evidence regarding El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey was transferred to Washington immediately after Tuesday’s court ruling
  • The pair, who have been stripped of UK citizenship, are in the custody of US forces in Iraq

LONDON: Relatives of two Britons killed by a Daesh cell on Wednesday welcomed a breakthrough that advances the US trial of two Londoners accused of their brutal deaths.
The families of Alan Henning and David Haines said a ruling by the London High Court permitting the UK government to share evidence with US authorities about the suspects was a “huge result for us.”
“We have only ever wanted to see these two men being held accountable and brought to justice through a fair trial for their alleged actions,” they said in a statement released by the charity Hostage International.
The evidence regarding El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey was transferred to Washington immediately after Tuesday’s court ruling.
The pair, who have been stripped of UK citizenship, are in the custody of US forces in Iraq.
Kotey and Elsheikh’s four-member cell was dubbed “the Beatles” by their captives due to their English accents. They are accused of torturing and killing victims, including by beheading, and Daesh released videos of the deaths for propaganda purposes.
A two-year legal impasse concerning the suspects was broken last month when Attorney General Bill Barr said they would be spared execution if convicted after trial in the United States.
The United States wants to try them for the murder of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid worker Peter Kassig, during 2014-2015.
Taxi driver Henning and former aircraft engineer Haines, who had both gone to Syria to do aid work, were beheaded in 2014.
Another of the cell’s alleged victims was British photojournalist John Cantlie, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012 and remains missing.
Cantlie’s sister Jessica Pocock told of the relatives’ intense frustration at the long legal wait.
“At times we felt absolutely desperate as to whether the legal system was ever going to be able to bring these two to justice — wherever they may be,” she told BBC radio.
“That was always terribly important to us to have a proper, fair trial. The families need nothing less than a fair trial,” she said.
The US Department of Justice welcomed the court ruling and expressed gratitude to Britain for transferring the evidence, although a trial date has yet to be set.