A U.S. 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 U.S. 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,” U.S. Africa Command said.
“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 U.S. soldier and two American defense contractors as well as the destruction of multiple Defense Department aircraft. The attack raised questions about the security of U.S. personnel in neighboring Kenya and underscored al Shabaab’s ability to mount complex attacks in the region despite suffering setbacks in Somalia