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Tuesday 21 February 2017

Key leader of al-Shabab killed in drone strike - US claims

Published 02/04/2016 | 07:14

In this file photo, al-Shabab fighters march with their weapons during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor, File)
In this file photo, al-Shabab fighters march with their weapons during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor, File)

A US drone strike in Somalia targeted a key leader of the al-Shabab militant group who was involved in two attacks in Mogadishu that killed more than 30 people, including at least three Americans, the Pentagon.

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Sources say Hassan Ali Dhoore and two others were killed.

Dhoore was targeted in the airstrike on Thursday, but the US military was still assessing the results, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.

US officials said the airstrike occurred about 20 miles south of Jilib in southern Somalia not far from the Kenyan border.

Mr Cook said Dhoore helped facilitate a deadly Christmas Day 2014 attack at Mogadishu International Airport and a March 2015 attack at the Maka al-Mukarramah Hotel. US citizens were among those killed in the attacks, he said.

One senior official also said Dhoore was believed to be involved in plotting more attacks that would have targeted US citizens.

Mr Cook said Dhoore, who was also a member of al-Qaida, worked for al-Shabab's security and intelligence wing.

In the Christmas 2014 assault, gunmen attacked the African Union's main base, leading to an exchange of gunfire between militants and soldiers that killed at least nine people, including three soldiers.

Three months later, gunmen from the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab launched an attack in the reception area of the hotel in the Somali capital, killing at least 24, including six attackers.

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