29 October 2013

Somalia - U.S. Drone Strike Kills Senior Al Shabab Figures

Addis Ababa — A US drone strike in war ravaged Somalia on Monday killed two senior members of the al-Qaida affiliated militant group, al Shabaab, Somalia and US officials said Tuesday.

The two al Shabaab commanders were killed in Southern Somalia after a US drone hit a vehicle they were travelling. One of the dead militants, Ibrahim Ali Abdi also known as Anta, is said to have been al-Shabaab's explosives expert who played a lead role in the making of suicide bomber vests and car bombs used against Somalia, African Union(AU) forces as well as attacks in other parts of the East African region.

Somalia's Interior Minister, Abdikarin Hussein Guled, told government radio that Somali intelligence services were involved in the attack that led to the killing of the militants.

The Somali Minister said his country's intelligence services had been tracking Ibrahim Ali Abdi before the US carried out the attack on his vehicle. Anta is said to have been behind the 2008 attacks in the semi autonomous Somalia region of Somaliland including on the presidential palace, the Ethiopian Consulate and at a United Nations office.

A US military official speaking anonymously to the Associated Press news agency said the strike targeted al Shabaab but declined to reveal details.

The US army has drone bases in Djibouti and in Ethiopia from where it launches military attacks against targets in Somalia.

Analysts say the killing of the Shabaab explosive maker is a blow to the already weakened group and that the fight against terrorism should be a joint effort.

"The battle against al-Shabab terrorist group should not only be left as an assignment to the AU or to East African countries. It rather should be a global fight" said Yohannes Zewdu, an Ethiopian political analyst in an interview with Sudan Tribune.

Zewdu said there is a need to actively battle against terror cells in Somalia to stop al-Qaida and its affiliate al-Shabab from extending their network to the East Africa and the continent at large.

The US military attack comes after a strike by Al Shabaab last month on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing some 67 people.

In October, US Special Forces raided a sea side house in the southern Somalia port of Barawe but failed to capture or kill, Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, also known as Ikrima, a senior al-Shabaab commander who is reported to have been the target of the raid.

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