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US strike ‘Targets al-Shabab Chief’

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The United States military has carried out a missile strike in Somalia against a suspected militant leader with ties to al-Qaeda and al-Shabab.
US defence officials said they are trying to establish whether the strike killed the intended target, whose identity they have not confirmed.
The BBC reports that the strike was aimed at a vehicle in a remote area of southern Somalia, near the town of Barawe.
Al-Shabab is the main al-Qaeda-linked group in East Africa.
The Pentagon said the target was a senior leader in the two organisations.
A rebel leader has told the Associated Press news agency that it was Sahal Iskudhuq, an al-Shabab commander who was close to the head of the militant Islamist group, and to al-Qaeda.
However, this has not been confirmed.
The US launched a failed raid in Barawe – seen as a militant stronghold – in October to capture an al-Shabab commander.
The group, which was responsible for the attack on a Kenyan shopping centre in September, has been weakened by an offensive by African Union forces on their haven in south-central Somalia.
The US has recently deepened its involvement in the country by sending a small unit of military advisers to the capital, Mogadishu.
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