The U.S. military confirmed Friday that an airstrike earlier this week targeted and killed a senior member of the al-Shabab extremist group.
Ali Mohamed Hussein, who served as al-Shabab’s shadow governor for Mogadishu and has been one of the group’s most outspoken members, was killed in an airstrike.
He was the only person killed in the strike and no civilians were harmed, U.S. Africa Command said in a statement.
“The U.S. conducted this operation in coordination with its regional partners as a direct response to al-Shabab actions, including recent attacks on Somali forces,” the statement read.
Hussein, also known as Ali Jabal, was known for forcing Mogadishu businesses to “donate” money to the Islamist militants.
Somalia’s information minister, Abdurahman Omar Osman, told VOA Somali that President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “approved an operation with international partners on 30 July near Tortoroow, killing a key al-Shabab leader behind Mogadishu bombings, assassinations.”
Tortoroow is an al-Shabab stronghold in the Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia.
A brief statement on the attack from the U.S. Africa Command said the airstrike took place Sunday at about 3 p.m. local time.
President Donald Trump earlier this year approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab, including more aggressive airstrikes.
Following the strike, the Somali president held an emergency meeting with the country’s heads of security agencies on Monday. Sources told VOA the meeting focused on the latest security incidents in the country.
The meeting came a day after the militants carried out two deadly attacks in Somalia. In the first, militants ambushed a convoy carrying African Union troops in Lower Shabelle. At least 18 soldiers were killed, according to a senior Somali military officer.
In the second, a massive car bomb explosion killed at least 10 people and wounded 15 on a busy Mogadishu street.
Source: Voice of America