(Newsroom America) -- The U.S. military is increasing its use of drones in Somalia, an extension of a clandestine operation to target al Qaeda in Yemen and elsewhere, The New York Times reported Friday.
The paper said the expansion of drone usage is a result of intelligence indicating members of the terrorist group in both nations are forging closer ties and could be planning attacks against the U.S.
Citing unnamed officials, the report said U.S. military drones targeted several Somali members of the militant group Shabab in late June, killing at least one mid-level operative and wounding others.
The same Special Operations Command operating drones in Yemen carried out the Somalia attack, the paper said, adding that the east Africa attack "represented an intensification of an American military campaign in a mostly lawless region where weak governments have allowed groups with links to Al Qaeda to flourish."
The expansion of drone attacks against insurgents located throughout troubled regions in Africa and the Middle East are a result of the Obama admninistration's renewed strategy to fight terrorism in the post-Osama bin Laden era.
The Somalia attack was the first American military action there since 2009, when a helicopter-borne assault team located and killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a top leader of the group that planned and carried out the 1998 U.S. embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania, said the report, noting that the Somalia drone strike was first reported this week by The Washington Post.
The U.S. had been primarily relying on proxy forces from the African Union - mostly contributed by Uganda and Burundi - to help prop up Somalia's fragile government and fight insurgents there.
Earlier this week, said the report, President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, said that from "territory it controls in Somalia, Al Shabab continues to call for strikes against the United States."
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