The US military has killed a “multiple” al Qaeda militant in Somalia, the US military said Thursday, as part of a surge in drone strikes in the country.
The US drone strikes have killed hundreds of militants in the war-torn Horn of Africa nation since late 2016, according to a White House fact sheet.
The Pentagon did not say how many militants were killed.
The militants were reportedly “neutralized” in a drone strike in the town of Sibenik on Wednesday, the statement said.
The drone strike “killed multiple individuals in Somalia,” the statement continued.
The White House said the raid “targeted multiple al Qaeda operatives” who had planned attacks on US interests in Somalia and the Horn of African nation.
It said that the militants were “neutralised” in the raid.
US President Donald Trump has made drone strikes a central part of his counterterrorism strategy, including the “targeting” of suspected al Qaeda leaders.
The attacks have been used by Trump to call for an increased military presence in Somalia to protect against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The military has also used drone strikes to kill other militants, including those linked to the Taliban and the Islamic State group.
The Somali government and the United Nations have been trying to end al Qaeda’s influence in the Horn, and the Somali government has blamed the group for more than 200 attacks since the 1990s.
Somalia has been a key US ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, and many of its nationals are still living in the region.
The United States has accused the group of carrying out the most deadly attacks in Somalia in the past decade, and President Donald J. Trump has been seeking to improve the US-Somali relationship.
The Somalian government has accused al-Qaida of plotting attacks against it and the US, which has denied the allegation.
Al-Qaida’s Somalia affiliate, al-Shabab, was designated a foreign terrorist organisation by the United States in May.
Al Qaeda has been waging a insurgency in Somalia for more two decades, and it has targeted the Somali military, security forces and security services.
Al Shabab has claimed responsibility for a string of deadly attacks over the past several years, including a November 2016 suicide bombing at a security forces camp that killed at least 22 people.
The latest drone strike came less than a week after US officials said a US drone killed five militants in a raid in a compound in the city of Kismayo.
US officials did not specify who was killed in the operation.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press contributed to this report.