The Somali government has confirmed that a top al-Shabab commander was killed in a United States drone strike last month.

In a statement issued on Friday, the government said that Abdi Nur Mahdi, the group's chief of external operations with responsibility for intelligence and security planning, was killed in an air strike on January 31.

Mahdi is also known as Yusuf Dheeg.

"To those who choose to continue to follow the path of violence and destruction, be aware: [Somalia] and its allies will continue to target you and your network ... until the threat from al-Shabaab menace within Somalia and the region as a whole no longer remains," the statement said.

Somali intelligence told the Reuters news agency earlier this week that the strike south of the capital Mogadishu also killed other senior members of the group, an al-Qaeda affiliate which wants to topple the Western-backed Mogadishu government and impose its version of Islamic law.

Al-Shabab, which controlled Mogadishu and southern Somalia until it was driven out of the capital in 2011, has steadily lost territory to a military offensive by Somali and African Union forces.

The group still launches regular attacks and was behind a 2013 raid on a Nairobi shopping mall that killed 67 people.

Source: Al Jazeera And Reuters