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Somali militant leader said to be targeted in US airstrike

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A senior commander with the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab has been killed in a U.S. drone strike in southwestern Somalia, a Somali official and a militant commander said Thursday.

The attack Wednesday night targeted a vehicle in which the al-Shabab commander, Ismael Jabhad, and three other fighters were traveling near the rebel-held town of Bardhere, a Somali intelligence official told The Associated Press. The official insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

An al-Shabab official named Abu Mohammed confirmed the attack but gave no details.

The U.S. has carried out many airstrikes in Somalia targeting leaders of al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida.

Al-Shabab is responsible for carrying out a series of deadly attacks on civilians, government troops and African Union forces across Somalia. The group has also carried out attacks in Kenya and Uganda, countries that have sent troops to Somalia as part of the African Union force protecting Somalia’s weak federal government.

Al-Shabab militants have been pushed out of much of the territory they once controlled across the Horn of Africa nation, including the capital, Mogadishu. But the rebels remain a lethal threat, frequently carrying out drive-by shootings, suicide bombings and other attacks.

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