US airstrike in Somalia kills suspected al-Qaeda operative
A US military airstrike in Somalia is believed to have killed al-Qaeda's top operative in the East African country, DPA reported.
US Central Command on Thursday confirmed that it had carried out a strike against a known al-Qaeda leader near the town of Dusamareb but did not identify the target.
BBC News, citing witnesses, reported that Adan Hashi Ayro, who was also the leader of the al-Shabaab militia, died along with eight other people in the overnight air raid on his house.
Lieutenant Joseph Holstead, a spokesman for Central Command in Tampa, Florida, did not provide a name of the target and said further analysis was needed to confirm whether the strike successfully killed the target.
Residents said they saw US fighter planes. The Somali news agency Garowe Online reported Ayro's house was hit by at least three rockets.
US aircraft attacked Islamic rebels in the south of the country only a few weeks ago.
Ayro, who was trained in Afghanistan by the radical Taliban movement, was one of the leaders of the insurgency against the interim Somali government and its Ethiopian allies.
The al-Shabaab militia is the armed wing of the Sharia Courts movement, which was ousted from power at the beginning of 2007 with Ethiopian assistance.
Since then, the Islamists have been waging a guerilla war against government troops.
The interim government has been unable to achieve stability in the Horn of Africa country that has been plagued by chaos and civil war since 1991.
In the past year, hundreds of thousands of people have fled the capital Mogadishu.
The International Red Cross said Wednesday that it was "extremely concerned" about the humanitarian situation in Somalia.