US air strike targets senior al-Shabab leader

Pentagon assessing results after targeting Hassan Ali Dhoore on Thursday in a drone strike in southern Somalia.

    Al-Shabab denied last month US claims that dozens of its fighters had been killed in air strikes [Feisal Omar/Reuters]
    Al-Shabab denied last month US claims that dozens of its fighters had been killed in air strikes [Feisal Omar/Reuters]
    Correction: 4/2/2016: This story originally said Dhoore had been killed in the air strike. The US is assessing whether he died or not.

    A US air strike in Somalia has targeted a senior al-Shabab leader accused of participating in deadly attacks on African forces and American citizens.  

    The Pentagon said on Friday the strike was aimed at Hassan Ali Dhoore, also described as a key member al-Qaeda.

    It was unclear whether al-Shabab members were killed in the attack on Thursday, and the US defence department was "assessing the results of this operation", a statement said. 

    "Removing Dhoore from the battlefield would be a significant blow to al-Shabab's operational planning and ability to conduct attacks," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook was quoted as saying.

    Dhoore is said to be a member of al-Shabab's Amniyat, or security and intelligence wing, and was involved in high-profile attack planning in the capital, Mogadishu.

    The Pentagon said he planned and oversaw attacks resulting in the deaths of African Union military personnel and at least three US citizens.

    Quoting unidentified US officials, The Associated Press reported that Dhoore and two others were killed in a drone strike 32km south of Jilib in southern Somalia, not far from the Kenyan border. The officials were not authorised to discuss the strike publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

    READ MORE: Somalia's al-Shabab: Toll of US air strikes exaggerated

    The Pentagon said Dhoore helped facilitate a deadly Christmas Day 2014 attack at Mogadishu's international airport that killed nine people, including three AU soldiers.

    He was also involved in the March 2015 assault on the Maka al-Mukarramah Hotel in the Somali capital that left 24 people dead, including six attackers.

    Last month, the US said it carried out several air strikes in Somalia's Hiiraan region, in which it claimed more than 150 of the al-Qaeda-linked group's fighters had been killed.

    However, two of the al-Shabab leaders said to have died in that attack later appeared in public.

     UpFront - Can drone strikes defeat al-Shabab? 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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