Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM084

Incident date

July 30, 2017

Location

Tortoroow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.25045, 44.69117 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

US Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed a US strike killed Ali Muhammad Hussein, believed to be a high-level al Shabaab commander. No civilians were reported to have been killed or injured in the strike.

The strike took place in Tortoroow in southern Somalia at around 1500 local time on July 30th, reportedly killing Jabal alone.

Africom said Hussein, who was also known as Ali Jabal, was “responsible for leading al-Shabaab forces operating in the Mogadishu and Banadiir regions in planning and executing attacks against the capital of Mogadishu.”

“The US conducted this operation in coordination with its regional partners as a direct response to al Shabaab actions, including recent attacks on Somali forces,” AFRICOM said in a statement announcing the strike. “We continue to work in coordination with our Somali partners and allies to systematically dismantle al Shabaab, and help achieve stability and security throughout the region.”

“His removal disrupts al-Shabaab’s ability to plan and conduct attacks in Mogadishu and coordinate efforts between Al-Shabaab regional commanders,” read a separate Africom press release announcing Jabal’s death.

The Somali information ministry had announced Jabal’s death earlier, describing him as the shadow al Shabaab governor for Mogadishu. “This individual was part of an al-Shabab network responsible for planning and executing several bombings and assassinations that resulted in the deplorable death of numerous innocent civilians in Mogadishu,” a statement from the ministry reportedly said.

According to Stars and Stripes, Somalia’s information ministry said Jabal was killed in what was described as an operation coordinated with “international partners”. Reuters said the information ministry called it a “military raid” carried out with its military and allied foreign troops, although the nationality of the troops was not given. A Somali intelligence official told Stars and Stripes at least one missile struck a car Hussein was travelling in.

Al Qaeda confirmed Jabal’s death in an online statement on August 26. “The cowardly American enemy planes tried to strike him. The first missed him and the second hit, making him a martyr,” said the al Qaeda statement according to Reuters.

In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had struck what it says was an al Shabaab leader (“an al-shabaab named objective”), in the vicinity of Tortoroow on July 30th.

According to SITE via Voice of America, al Shabaab later issued a statement confirming the death of Ali Jabal.

The incident occured at 3:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Pictures of al Shabaab commander, Ali Muhammad Hussein

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place at approximately 3pm in the vicinity of the village Tortoroow, for which the coordinates are: 2.25045, 44.69117. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

U.S. confirms strike against al-Shabaab’s Ali Jabal

On July 30 at approximately 3 p.m. Somalia local time, the Department of Defense conducted a successful kinetic strike near Tortoroow in southern Somalia, killing al-Shabaab’s Ali Muhammad Hussein, known as Ali Jabal. There were no civilian casualties from this strike. The U.S. conducted this operation in coordination with its regional partners as a direct response to al-Shabaab actions, including recent attacks on Somali forces.

Ali Jabal, a senior al-Shabaab terrorist, was responsible for leading al-Shabaab forces operating in the Mogadishu and Banadiir regions in planning and executing attacks against the capital of Mogadishu. He used the Lower Shabelle Region of Somalia, a known al-Shabaab safe haven, as a hub for these activities.

In recent months, al-Shabaab militants were known to have conducted suicide car bombings and assassinations targeting police, governmental and military leaders in the capital. Al-Shabaab militants were also known to have conducted numerous attacks against the Somali National Army and African Union Mission in Somalia members in the region. His removal disrupts al-Shabaab's ability to plan and conduct attacks in Mogadishu and coordinate efforts between Al-Shabaab regional commanders.

We continue to work in coordination with our Somali partners and allies to systematically dismantle al-Shabaab, and help achieve stability and security throughout the region.

This strike was conducted within the parameters of the proposal approved by the President in March 2017, which allows the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct lethal action against al-Shabaab within a geographically-defined area of active hostilities in support of partner forces in Somalia.

In a separate press release, AFRICOM initially stated that it had carried out a strike on July 29th at "8:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time". It later updated the date and time to Somali local time. The press release stated:

"On July 30 at approximately 3 p.m. Somalia local time working from actionable intelligence, the Department of Defense conducted a successful kinetic strike operation against an al-Shabaab Mogadishu Attack Network militant in Somalia, killing one (1) fighter and with no civilian casualties. The operation occurred near Tortoroow in southern Somalia. The U.S. conducted this operation in coordination with its regional partners as a direct response to al-Shabaab actions, including recent attacks on Somali forces.

Al-Shabaab has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and is dedicated to providing safe haven for terrorist attacks throughout the world. Al-Shabaab has publicly committed to planning and conducting attacks against the US and our allies.

We continue to work in coordination with our Somali partners and allies to systematically dismantle al-Shabaab, and help achieve stability and security throughout the region.

We will continue to assess the results of the operation, and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released in order to ensure operational security.

This strike was conducted within the parameters of the proposal approved by the President in March 2017, which allows the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct lethal action against al-Shabaab within a geographically-defined area of active hostilities in support of partner force in Somalia."

NOTE: Time of strike was updated Aug. 1, 2017 to reflect Somalia local time."

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (8) [ collapse]