U.S. airstrikes on Monday night killed six Islamic militants with a Somalian al Qaeda-linked group, but it’s unclear whether al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane is among the dead. The terror group said Godane was in a vehicle struck by U.S. planes.
The vehicles were headed toward Barawe, al-Shabab’s stronghold in Somalia, an al-Shabab member told the Associated Press. The al Qaeda-linked group was responsible for the attack on a Kenyan shopping mall last September that killed 67 people.
Al-Shabab acknowledged that Godane was in one of two vehicles targeted by the U.S. airstrikes, but there's been no confirmation that the leader was killed in the attack.
"So far Godane's death is a strong rumor that may or may not turn to be true,” said a senior intelligence official who gave only his first name, Ahmed, to Reuters. “What we know is that the militants were bombarded. However, it is difficult to know how many of them or who particularly died.”
Abdiqadir Mohamed Sidii, governor of the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, was more certain that Godane was dead.
"We understand a U.S. drone killed Ahmed Abdi Godane and other seven senior members last night near Hawaay area around Barawe town," he told Reuters. He didn’t say how he got that information.