The decision allows US special operations forces to accompany Somali National Army troops and other African allies as they move closer to the fight, enabling them to call in airstrikes without having to wait for the approval of senior commanders, the Associated Press reported.
"The additional support provided by this authority will help deny al-Shabaab safe havens from which it could attack US citizens or USA interests in the region", Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said in the statement.
Those rules, known as the Presidential Policy Guidance, required high-level, interagency vetting of proposed strikes.
Somalia's crisis deepened with the rise of Al-Qaeda offshoot Al-Shabab, prompting a renewed USA military intervention through special operations units and drone strikes.
While U.S. commanders say the formal rules of engagement have not changed in Iraq, they acknowledge that the system for calling in airstrikes there has been accelerated. USA officials denied that claim but said investigations into reports of civilian casualties were underway. The designation, approved by President Trump on Wednesday, applies to active combat zones like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, parts of Libya, parts of Yemen and now Somalia. Trump's decision on Somalia follows what humanitarian experts have witnessed in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, where civilians have been killed amid USA -backed efforts to go after extremists or rebels, he said.
"It's our responsibility to make sure that we don't have any catastrophes and we don't take out a group of people who is moving to find water or food", he said.
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Kent-born Masood, who lived in Birmingham, earlier mounted the kerb twice in a Hyundai auto as he sped across Westminster Bridge . Sponsored Content: Why Governance, Risk and Compliance is Everyone's Business - Download the Executive Brief Today.
The move follows a similar expansion of war powers in Yemen.
Al-Shabaab, whose operations have sown terror across Somalia and Kenya in recent years, have carried out several attacks in Elwak area in the past two years. The two women, both suburban mothers, helped organize a ring of 15 people located around the world that sent funds to the al-Shabaab militant group, prosecutors said.
The U.S. conducts airstrikes, typically drone strikes, in Somalia under the authority for self-defense and collective self-defense when American advisers accompany AMISOM and Somali government military forces.
About 50 USA commandos have been rotating in and out of Somalia to advise and assist local troops. One of the safehouses was used by al-Shabaab to store weapons and to prepare for attacks.
New recruits belonging to Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebel group march during a passing out parade at a military training base in Afgoye, west of the capital Mogadishu February 17, 2011.
The Pentagon has acknowledged only a fraction of these missions.
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