U.S. strike targets top al-Shabaab militant



U.S. war planes carried out a strike in southern Somalia on Monday targeting a senior leader of the al-Shabaab militia, the Pentagon said, without giving any details of casualties.

Military spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said the raid hit a target in Saakow, shortly after the Islamist rebel group’s intelligence chief surrendered to government and African Union forces.

Kirby did not identify the targeted militant chief by name.

“At this time, we do not assess there to be any civilian or bystander casualties,” he said.

“We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information, when appropriate, as details become available.”

Al-Shabaab is seeking to topple the Western-backed Mogadishu government and impose its own extremist version of Islamic law in the country.

If a senior militant was killed in the strike, it would be the latest in a series of setbacks for the militia since the death of its former leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in another U.S. attack in September.

On Saturday, officials said the al-Qaeda-affiliated group’s intelligence chief Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi, the subject of a $3 million U.S. bounty, had surrendered to Somali government forces.

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