The Somali National Army (SNA) announced that 120 fighters of the Shebab jihadist group were killed in the last 48 hours in a large-scale operation in Galmudug district, in the central part of the country.

Somalia’s Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Yusuf al-Adala told the national news agency SONNA that in the past two days the armed forces have launched 17 attacks against positions of the jihadist group.

“Senior Shebab commanders are among the 120 victims of these operations. They had escaped on Monday from the town of El Garash, which they had failed to defend. The barrage of attacks had weakened them,” the deputy minister said during his visit to Galmudug district.

The deputy minister of information did not mention any casualties of the Somali armed forces. Addressing the men of the security forces, he asked them to continue with unabated intensity the operations to dismantle every terrorist cell in the area.

In recent months, the Somali army has regained control of several areas that were under the control of Shebab. The jihadist group, which maintains strong ties to al-Qaeda, has been waging an armed struggle against Somalia’s internationally-backed federal government for more than 15 years, with the aim of toppling it and forcing the country to its own extreme version of Islamic law.