MOGADISHU, Somalia — The United States military says it has carried out an airstrike in support of the Somali government’s operations against the al-Shabab extremist group that has killed some of the group’s fighters.

A statement by the U.S. Africa Command on Saturday describes the airstrike as being carried out Thursday in “collective self-defense” and at the request of the Somali National Army near the town of Cadale in the Middle Shabelle region.

Cadale is 220 kilometers (137 miles) north of the capital, Mogadishu.

The U.S. statement says al-Shabab fighters had been attacking Somali military forces. It says the initial assessment is that no civilians were killed.

The U.S. has carried out dozens of drone strikes against extremists in Somalia in recent years.

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