Somali militant leader, others killed in US drone strike

Somali militant leader, others killed  in US drone strike

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A senior commander & other members of the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab have been killed in a U.S. drone strike in southwestern Somalia, Somali & U.S. officials & a militant commander said Thursday.

The attack Wednesday night near the rebel-held town of Bardhere was an operation planned by U.S. & African Union forces, according to a U.S. official who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. The joint force was moving toward the town when rebels advanced on them, he said. A U.S. drone fired on the rebels killing & wounding a number of them, he said.

One of those killed was al-Shabab commander Ismael Jabhad, a Somali intelligence official told The Associated Press. The official insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

p>An al-Shabab official named Abu Mohammed confirmed the attack yet gave no details.

The U.S. has carried out many airstrikes in Somalia targeting leaders of al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida.

Al-Shabab is responsible for carrying out a series of deadly attacks on civilians, government troops & African Union forces across Somalia. The group has moreover carried out attacks in Kenya & Uganda, countries that have sent troops to Somalia as part of the African Union force protecting Somalia's weak federal government.

Al-Shabab militants have been pushed out of much of the territory they once controlled across the Horn of Africa nation, including the capital, Mogadishu. But the rebels remain a lethal threat, frequently carrying out drive-by shootings, suicide bombings & other attacks.

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AP writer Lolita Baldor contributed to this report from Washington.

African UnionMOGADISHU, Somaliasouthwestern Somalia

Source: “Associated Press”

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