Mogadishu - A senior militant in charge of suicide attacks
for al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab rebels has been killed in a drone strike in
southern Somalia, a Somali government official said on Tuesday.
Interior Minister Abdikarin Hussein Guled told government
radio that the Somali intelligence services have been tracking Ibrahim Ali
Abdi, also known as Anta-Anta, for some time before the strike took place on
The minister did not say who carried out the attack, but an
official in Washington said the US military carried out a drone strike
targeting Shabaab in Somalia on Monday.
"The operation in which this man has been killed was
very important for the government. This man had a major role in the death of
many innocent civilians and his death will help in bringing back peace,"
the minister told Radio Mogadishu.
Officials from Somalia's internationally-backed government
have described the dead militant as being well-known for making suicide bomber
vests and preparing car bombs used regularly by the rebels to attack
There has been no comment from the rebels.
The strike came weeks after an audacious attack on the
Westgate Mall in Nairobi claimed by Shabaab in which at least 67 people were
It also follows a raid by US Navy SEALS on the southern port
of Barawe in early October that failed to hit its alleged target: a senior Shabaab
militant leader and Kenyan of Somali origin called Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir,
also known as Ikrima.
An American official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said on Monday that the latest missile attack was a drone strike conducted by
the US army.
The source did not specify where the drone was launched, but
the US army operates the devices from bases in Dijbouti and Arba Minch in
The Shabaab have been driven out of Somalia's major towns,
including the capital Mogadishu and the key southern port of Kismayo, by a
UN-mandated African Union force that now numbers 17 700 men.
However the group still controls large swathes of southern
Somalia and has over the past few months stepped up the scale of its suicide