U.S. military forces launched air strikes against the leader of Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked Shebab, the Somali government said Sept. 1, but gave no details if the attack was successful.
“The Americans carried out a major air strike targeting a gathering by senior Al-Shebab officials, including their leader Abu-Zubayr,” said Abdukadir Mohamed Nur, governor for southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. The Pentagon have confirmed an “operation” was carried out.
Abu-Zubayr is the often used name for Shebab supreme commander Ahmed Abdi Godane, listed by the U.S. State Department as one of the world’s eight top terror fugitives.
Earlier, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby stated that U.S. military forces carried out an operation in Somalia.
“We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate,” he added in a statement. There were no further details immediately available.
The operation comes a day after Shebab rebels carried out a car bomb and gun attack against an intelligence headquarters in central Mogadishu, leaving at least seven militants and five others dead.
Shebab rebels have targeted key areas of the Somali government or the security forces in an apparent bid to discredit claims by the authorities – who are backed by the African Union’s 22,000-strong AMISOM force – that they are winning the war against the Islamist fighters.
The Shebab are fighting to topple Somalia’s internationally-backed government, and regularly launch attacks against state targets, as well as in neighboring countries that contribute to the AU force.