U.S. army targets al-Shabaab leader in Somalia

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (L) speaks next to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington, August 21, 2014. (Reuters)

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.

"We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate," Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

It comes a day after Shabaab rebels carried out a car bomb and gun attack against an intelligence headquarters in central Mogadishu, leaving at least seven militants and five others dead.

Infographic: U.S. army attacks al-Shabaab in Somalia

Infographic: U.S. army attacks al-Shabaab in Somalia

Infographic: U.S. army attacks al-Shabaab in Somalia

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.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44