Key militant leader killed in US air strike, Somalia says

December 30, 2014 18:21

MOGADISHU - The leader of a unit of the Somali militant group al Shabaab was killed by a U.S. air strike in Somalia, Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency said on Tuesday.

"With the help of the Somali national security and intelligence agency and its US counterpart, an al Shabaab leader was killed last night," the security agency said in a statement.

The US Defense Department said on Monday it had launched an air strike in Somalia that targeted a senior al Shabaab leader and was "assessing the results of the operation."

The Somali statement said the leader, who it identified as Abdishakur, also known as Tahliil, was the head of Amniyat, an elite unit blamed for suicide attacks in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The al-Qaeda-aligned Al Shabaab is seeking to topple the Western-backed Mogadishu government and impose its own strict version of Islamic law in the country. A spokesman for the group could not be reached for comment.

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