U.S. forces reportedly carried out an airstrike Oct. 1 in Somalia that killed one of the top leaders of the terrorist network al-Shabab.
The strike, performed by elements from U.S. Africa Command in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, took place near Jilib, a city of approximately 100,000 that sits about 230 miles southwest of Mogadishu.
No civilian casualties were reported, according to U.S. Africa Command.
Somali officials corroborated the report of the strike, calling it a joint operation between international partners and the Somali National Army.
Government leaders also identified the deceased terrorist as Abdullahi Nadir, a man they called “one of the most important members of al-Shabab.” Nadir previously had a $3 million bounty placed on his head by the U.S. government, the Associated Press reported, and was in line to eventually ascend to the head of the organization, a position currently occupied by Ahmed Diriye.
“His death is a thorn removed from the Somali nation, and the Somali people will be relieved from his misguidance and horrific acts,” government officials said a statement acquired by AP.
Al-Shabab, which boasts thousands of fighters that have seized significant parts of the East African country, has been characterized by U.S. officials as “the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world” — one that has shown the capability of carrying out threats against U.S. interests.
U.S. Africa Command considers Somalia a vital partner in ensuring the security of East Africa. Joint missions and training as well as advising and equipping partner forces are components of U.S. involvement in the ongoing fight against al-Shabab.
Units and assets involved in the Oct. 1 airstrike, meanwhile, “will not be released in order to ensure operations security,” the report said.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.