US to Increase Airstrikes in Somalia

The US military will increase operations in Somalia with new authorization allowing it to conduct offensive airstrikes, the Pentagon announced. The White House on Thursday approved a Pentagon proposal to “provide additional precision fires” in support of African Union troops in Somalia, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement. The authorization designates southern Somalia as an “active area of hostilities” for 180 days, allowing increased authority to conduct airstrikes. This authority was used in US military operations targeting ISIS in Libya last year, and also applies to other combat zones such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. US Africa Command chief Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said during a March 24 briefing that he sought more authority to be able to more quickly hit targets. “That’s obviously something that we advocate for and if we were given that opportunity, given out those permissions and authorities, (it) will be very helpful to us.”