Al-Shabaab leader killed in US airstrike: Pentagon

U.S. forces over the weekend conducted an airstrike in Somalia that killed a top leader of the al-Shabaab extremist group, the Pentagon said Monday.

In coordination with the Somali government, U.S. Africa Command (Africom) conducted the airstrike on Saturday, Oct. 1, near Jilib, roughly 370 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu.

Africom did not name the target of the attack, though the Somali Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism on Sunday identified the militant killed as Abdullahi Nadir.

Nadir, who the Somali government said had been wanted for a “long time,” had a $3 million U.S. bounty on his head.

“Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests,” according to an Africom statement. “U.S. Africa Command, alongside its partners, continues to take action to prevent this malicious terrorist group from planning and conducting attacks on civilians.”

The statement claims no civilians were injured or killed in the strike.

The Somali government has announced a “total war” against al-Shabaab, which controls major swaths of land in the south and central parts of the country.

To help with that effort, President Biden in May announced 500 U.S. troops would be redeployed to Somalia to help train, advise and equip partner forces.

Saturday’s strike is at least the fifth since the beginning of August, with the most recent being on Sept. 18. In that strike, Africom claimed it killed 27 al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali forces.

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