Strike kills two militants as US-backed forces push into ISIS territory in Somalia

STUTTGART, Germany — The U.S. military said it killed two Islamic State fighters Wednesday in Somalia, where there has been an uptick in airstrikes against the militant group in the past month.

In recent years, nearly all of U.S. Africa Command airstrikes in Somalia have been directed against al-Shabab, a homegrown terrorist group linked to al-Qaida that has waged a decadelong battle against country’s weak central government.

But ISIS-Somalia, which has been a small but persistent presence over the past three years, is becoming a more frequent target. AFRICOM has launched five airstrikes in the past month against the group, which some analysts estimate has a force strength of about 200.

AFRICOM is targeting ISIS elements in Somalia “to limit and disrupt freedom of movement in the area and to eliminate leaders of the organization,” the command said.