U.S. military forces launched air strikes against the leader of Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked al-Shebaab, the government said Tuesday, but gave no details if the attack was successful.
"The Americans carried out a major air strike targeting a gathering by senior al-Shabaab officials, including their leader Abu-Zubayr," said Abdukadir Mohamed Nur, governor for southern Somalia's Lower Shabelle region. The Pentagon have confirmed an "operation" was carried out.
Abu-Zubayr is the often used name for Shabaab supreme commander Ahmed Abdi Godane, listed by the U.S. State Department as one of the world's eight top terror fugitives.
Shabaab rebels have targeted key areas of the Somali government or the security forces in an apparent bid to discredit claims by the authorities -- who are backed by the African Union's 22,000-strong AMISOM force -- that they are winning the war against the Islamist fighters.
The Shabaab are fighting to topple Somalia's internationally-backed government, and regularly launch attacks against state targets, as well as in neighboring countries that contribute to the AU force.