Middle East

Unclear if Somalia militant leader killed in strike: US

FILE- In this Feb.17, 2011 file photo, hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area some 18 kilometers (12 miles) south of Mogadishu, Somalia. U.S. military forces targeted the Islamic extremist al-Shabab network in an operation Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 in Somalia, the Pentagon said. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)

WASHINGTON: The United States is still assessing whether Al-Shabab leader Ahmad Abdi Godane was killed along with other Al-Qaeda-linked militants in a U.S. airstrike in Somalia Monday, a U.S. official told Reuters Tuesday.

"We don't know that he's dead. But he was the target," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Other U.S. officials said they believe Godane was killed, but that the U.S. government has not confirmed this yet.

If he were killed, it would be a major blow to the militant group.

Since taking charge in 2008, Godane has restyled the group as a global player in the Al-Qaeda franchise - a transformation that was highlighted when it killed at least 67 people in an attack on a Kenyan shopping mall last September.





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