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Al-Shabaab leader killed by US air strike in Somalia

Al-Shabaab leader killed by US air strike in Somalia

Mogadishu, Somalia: Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, al Qaeda's affiliate in east Africa, was killed in a US air strike earlier this week.

The group said that it was considering at least four possible candidates to succeed its leader. Ahmed Abdi Godane, died of wounds sustained in the drone strike on Monday in Somalia's remote Lower Shabelle region, said the group's spokesman Abu Mohamed. The Pentagon also confirmed Godane's death on Friday.

Other members of the group were also killed in the attack, said Mohamed adding that the top spot wouldn't remain vacant for long. "We have men dedicated to continue the leadership," he said.

Godane, who liked to quote Somali poets and harangue dissenters on Twitter, was instrumental in steering al-Shaabab from a largely domestic outfit to a terror group that struck targets in foreign countries. It has been formally allied with al Qaeda since 2012, a partnership that is largely credited to Godane.

He is also believed to have encouraged al-Shabaab to carry out attacks in Uganda and Kenya, two countries that have sent troops to fight Somali militants. In 2010, multiple bomb blasts killed more than 80 people in the Ugandan capital Kampala. Al-Shabaab also claimed responsibility for an attack on an upscale Nairobi shopping mall last year that killed more than 60 people.

The U.S. tried to strike Godane in October 2013 but pulled back to avoid civilian casualties. Unlike the previous attempt in October, this strike didn't involve boots on the ground. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the killing of Godane "reflects years of painstaking work by our intelligence, military and law-enforcement professionals."

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