One of the top leaders of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror organization in Somalia was killed Thursday when the U.S. military launched an airstrike from a drone, the Pentagon says. The al-Shabab official, Hassan Ali Dhoore, was specifically targeted by U.S. forces for his alleged role in two separate attacks in the capital city of Mogadishu, according to a U.S. Defense Department statement Friday.
The airstrike was sanctioned by and conducted in concert with the Somali government, and although additional details of the bombing were not immediately available, the Pentagon asserted that Dhoore's confirmed death deals "a significant blow to al-Shabab's operational planning and ability to conduct attacks against the government of the Federal Republic of Somalia, its citizens, U.S. partners in the region, and against Americans abroad."
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The news of Dhoore's demise comes about three weeks after another airstrike against the militant group, when up to 150 al-Shabab members were killed at a training camp in Somalia. Al-Shabab denied the U.S. account, but the Somali prime minister's office confirmed the airstrike.
"We welcome the precision drone attack on the Shabab base in collaboration with the work of the SNA [Somali National Army,]" Abdisalam Aato, a spokesman for Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, told CNN. "The attack will severely minimize the threat of Shabab. This attack will boost the ground attack on Shabab and hasten their annihilation."
Al-Shabab, an Islamic extremist group of militants, has been terrorizing the region for about the past decade and typically targets the Somali government, as exemplified by Thursday's suicide bombing that took place as the assailant hugged a local official. The group has also in the past targeted non-Muslims in both Somalia and neighboring Kenya, where more than 400 people have died over the past two years.