A spokesperson for The United States military on Friday said in a statement, that its forces working with the Somali National Army killed five top al-Shabaab leaders in a joint airstrike in the vicinity of the Saaxa Weyne region.
In the statement, the US military said one of the al-Shabaab leaders who was killed in the airstrike was involved in an attack on the US and Somalian military forces. It said that initial assessments indicate that the strike on Jan. 7 eliminated five top al-Shabaab leaders, including wanted al-Shabaab leaders.
Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson of the US Air Force, commander of Joint Task Force-Quartz, said: “This strike targeted known al-Shabaab leaders who facilitated [operations of] finance, weapons, fighters, and explosives. One is suspected of being involved in a previous attack against the US and Somali forces.”
However, while speaking to Somali state television, the country’s army chief Gen. Odowa Yusuf Rage said that eight top al-Shabaab leaders were killed in the airstrike, including Mukhtar Nurow who is a known area militant boss.
The Somalia-based al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab militant group has not yet made any comment on the US led joint airstrike.
Al-Shabaab began in late December 2006 as a splinter group of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), after the Islamic Courts Union peacefully withdrew from Mogadishu and the ICU leaders, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, resigned and disbanded the Islamic Courts Union.
The earliest recorded attack which Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for was a suicide car bomb in Mogadishu on March 26, 2007, which Adam Salam Adam conducted against Ethiopian soldiers who were occupying Mogadishu. The attack killed 73 people.