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U.S. strike in Somalia targets Al-Shabaab

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — The United States conducted an airstrike Monday in Somalia against Al-Shabaab, said Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary.

The strike, which took place in the area of Saakow, was targeting a senior leader of the Islamist militant group.

“At this time, we do not assess there to be any civilian or bystander casualties. We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information, when appropriate, as details become available,” Kirby said in a statement.

The strike was carried out by an unmanned aircraft, and was an operation of the U.S. Defense Department, according to a U.S. defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

On Saturday, Somalia government forces captured a top Al-Shabaab commander, said two of the country’s military officials.

Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi, Al-Shabaab’s intelligence chief, was captured in a house near the town of El Wak, Somali military commander Isack Hussein Mursal told state-run radio.

He was a close associate of former Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, who was killed in a U.S. airstrike near Barawe city in September.

The capture came after militants with the group, which is linked to al Qaeda, attacked a large African Union base in Mogadishu last week, killing three Ugandan soldiers and a civilian.

Al-Shabaab has said that attack was revenge for the U.S. airstrike that killed Godane. The State Department had offered a $7 million reward for information on Godane’s location.

 

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