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Drone Strike Killed Senior Al-Shabab Militant, Pentagon Confirms

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The U.S. Defense Department has confirmed that it killed a senior al-Shabab militant leader, Yusuf Dheeg, and one of his associates in a January 31 drone strike.

Dheeg's death in the southern Somali town of Dinsoor already had been reported to VOA's Somali service by the militant group and the Somali government, which said the militant was al-Shabab's chief of external operations, responsible for planning attacks inside and outside Somalia.

A Pentagon official Tuesday confirmed the airstrike for reporters.

Al-Shabab's attacks outside Somalia have included the 2013 assault on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in which more than 60 civilians died, and a 2010 bombing in Uganda's capital, Kampala, that killed more than 70.

The U.S. has targeted the al-Shabab leadership in a series of airstrikes. In late December, the Defense Department confirmed that a U.S. strike had killed the group's intelligence chief, Tahil Abdishakur.

Al-Shabab's supreme leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed in a U.S. airstrike September 1.

VOA's Carla Babb contributed to this report.