Al-Shabaab commander thought killed in Somalia airstrike

The US military said on Monday it carried out a drone strike in Somalia that killed a member of the al-Shabaab extremist group, while Somalia’s government said it believes the strike killed a high-level al-Shabaab commander responsible for several deadly bombings in the capital.
A US Africa Command statement said the airstrike occurred on Saturday near Tortoroow, an al-Shabaab stronghold in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia.
President Donald Trump earlier this year approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab, including more aggressive airstrikes and considering parts of southern Somalia areas of active hostilities.
The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab is the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa.
The US statement said the airstrike was carried out in coordination with regional partners “as a direct response to al-Shabaab actions, including recent attacks on Somali forces.” The statement said no civilians were killed.
A statement by Somalia’s information ministry said the government believes that Ali Mohamed Hussein died in the operation coordinated with “international partners.”
Ali had served as the extremist group’s shadow governor for the capital, Mogadishu, and had been one of the group’s most outspoken officials.
“This individual was part of an al-Shabaab network responsible for planning and executing several bombings and assassinations that resulted in the deplorable death of numerous innocent civilians in Mogadishu,” the ministry statement said.
A Somali intelligence official said at least one missile struck a car in which the al-Shabaab leader was travelling. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

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