National Security

Pentagon: Head of Somali terror group killed in U.S. airstrike

Pentagon press secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. The Pentagon says the leader of the Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group was the target of U.S. military airstrikes that struck an encampment and a vehicle Monday night. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Pentagon press secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. The Pentagon says the leader of the Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group was the target of U.S. military airstrikes that struck an encampment and a vehicle Monday night. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) AP

WASHINGTON The Pentagon said Friday that a U.S. bombing raid had killed the leader of the main terrorist organization in Somalia.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said Ahmed Abdi Godane died as a result of Monday’s airstrikes on a terror camp and a vehicle south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

“Removing Godane from the battlefield is a major symbolic and operational loss to al Shabab,” Kirby said in a statement.

Calling al Shabbab “the largest al Qaida affiliate in Africa,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that Godane’s death “reflects year of painstaking work by our intelligence, military and law-enforcement professionals.”

The State Department had designated al Shabab a foreign terrorist organization in February 2008. Two years later, Godane declared his group’s allegiance to al Qaida, prompting the U.S. government to place a $7 million bounty on his head.

Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the September 2013 assault on a Nairobi, Kenya, shopping mall that killed at least 67 people, along with a number of other deadly attacks.

Anita Kumar of the McClatchy Washington Bureau contributed

Email: jrosen@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @jamesmartinrose

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