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US military says it killed terrorist leader who planned attack that killed Americans in Kenya

Posted February 25, 2020 11:57 a.m. EST

— A US airstrike in Somalia killed an al-Shabaab leader who had a role in "planning and directing terrorist operations," including a January attack on Manda Bay, Kenya, that killed three Americans, the US military said Tuesday.

"Post-strike assessments confirm the two terrorists killed in the Feb. 22 precision airstrikes were an individual associated with the attack on Manda Bay and his wife, who was also a known al-Shabaab member," US Africa Command said in a statement Tuesday.

"The two terrorists were identified as a senior al-Shabaab leader, who was in charge of planning and directing terrorist operations on the Kenya border region, including the recent attack on Manda Bay, and his wife, who also was a witting and active member of al-Shabaab responsible for facilitating a wide range of terrorist activities," the statement added.

The airstrike occurred in the vicinity of Saakow, Somalia, which is located approximately 320 kilometers west of Mogadishu. An earlier statement from Africa Command said the strike had targeted an al Shabaab compound, killing "two terrorists" and wounding another.

The high-profile al Shabaab attack on a military airfield in Manda Bay resulted in the death of a US soldier and two American defense contractors as well as the destruction of multiple Defense Department aircraft.

"Since January 5, U.S. Africa Command and our partners have pursued those responsible for the attack on U.S. and Kenyan forces at Manda Bay," said U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of U.S. Africa Command said in the statement released Tuesday.

"This strike demonstrates that we will continue to relentlessly pursue those responsible for Manda Bay and those wishing to do harm to Americans and our African partners," Townsend added.

Al Shabaab is considered to be al Qaeda's largest affiliate.

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