- Feb 8, 2007
- Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
This will be good if they can prove it but some other asshat will just rise up in his place.
Al-Qaeda commander in Somalia reported dead in air strike
Last Updated: Thursday, May 1, 2008 | 8:55 AM ET Comments11Recommend5
The Associated Press
The American military launched an air strike Thursday targeting the head of al-Qaeda in Somalia, a U.S. defence official said. The head of an Islamic insurgent group said the attack killed its leader.
Islamist leader Aden Hashi Ayro, believed to be the head of al-Qaeda in Somalia, was killed when the air strike struck his house in the central Somali town of Dusamareeb, about 480 kilometres north of Mogadishu, said Sheik Muqtar Robow, a spokesman for the Islamic al-Shabab militia.
Another commander and seven others were also killed, Robow said. Six more people were wounded, two of whom later died, said resident Abdullahi Nor.
"Our brother martyr Aden Hashi, has received what he was looking for — death for the sake of Allah — at the hands of the United States," Robow said by phone.
"This would not deter us from continuing our holy war against Allah's enemy; we will be on the right way, that is why we are targeted. I call for our holy fighters to remain strong in their position and keep up the jihad," he added.
A local elder told Reuters that up to 30 people were killed by the air strike, saying the roofs of 25 homes were destroyed by the blasts.
"So far we understand that 30 dead bodies were found in the ruins and at least 15 others were wounded," a local leader in the small central town of Dusamareeb was quoted as saying.
Capt. Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for United States Central Command, confirmed there was a U.S. air strike early Thursday in the vicinity of Dusamareeb. Another U.S. military spokesman, Bob Prucha, said the attack was against a "known al-Qaeda target and militia leader in Somalia." Both declined to provide further details.
But another U.S. defence official confirmed that the military launched a missile strike targeting Ayro at about 3 a.m. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
Over the past year, the U.S. military has attacked several suspected extremists in Somalia, most recently in March when the U.S. navy fired at least one missile into a southern Somali town.
Somali government officials have said Ayro trained in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and is the head of al-Qaeda's cell in Somalia.
He was a key figure in the al-Shabab movement, which aims to impose Islamic law and launches daily attacks on the shaky Somali government and its Ethiopian allies. Ayro also recently called for attacks on African peacekeepers in Somalia in a recording on an Islamic website.
'Huge explosion' during night
Sheik Muhidin Mohamud Omar, who Robow described as "a top commander" in the Al-Shabab, was also killed in Thursday's attack.
"We heard a huge explosion and when we ran out of our house we saw a ball of smoke and flames coming out of the house where one of the leaders of al-Shabab Aden Hashi Ayro was staying," said local resident Nur Geele.
Another resident, Nur Farah, said, "the bodies were beyond recognition, some them cut into pieces, and those wounded have been severely burnt."
Al-Shabab is the armed wing of the Council of Islamic Courts movement. The State Department considers al-Shabab a terrorist organization.
The Council of Islamic Courts seized control of much of southern Somalia, including the capital, Mogadishu, in 2006. But troops loyal to the UN-backed interim Somali government and the allied Ethiopian army drove the group from power that December.
Ethiopia's enemy, Eritrea, has offered assistance to the group, and it is re-emerging. In recent months, it has briefly taken several towns, freeing prisoners and seizing weapons from government forces. The insurgents usually withdraw after a few hours, but continue to target Ethiopian and Somali forces in an Iraq-style insurgency.
The United States has repeatedly accused the Islamic group of harbouring militants linked to al-Qaeda, which is allegedly responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The U.S. has expressed concern that Somalia is a breeding ground for insurgent groups, particularly after the Islamic militants briefly gained control of the south and Osama bin Laden declared his support for them.
Fighting between government troops and the insurgents claimed thousands of lives last year and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes.