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Somalia: al-Shabab Leader Killed in US Drone Strike

Somalia says a U.S. drone strike on Saturday killed its target, senior al-Shabab militant leader Yusuf Dheeg.

The government said in a statement Wednesday that Dheeg died with other al-Shabab commanders in the airstrike in the southern town of Dinsor.

A source in the militant group confirmed Dheeg's death to VOA's Somali Service.

Timeline: US Airstrikes in Somalia

Timeline: US Airstrikes in Somalia

May 1, 2008: Former military leader of Aden Hashi Ayrow killed in Dhusamareb.

Sept. 14, 2009: Saleh Ali Nabhan, al-Qaida leader, suspected in 1998 US East Africa Embassy bombing, killed

Jan. 22, 2012: Drone strike kills British al-Qaida member Bilal Berjawi near Mogadishu

Feb. 24, 2012: Sheikh Ibrahim Abu Uhud, a Moroccan jihadi with al-Shabab, killed by drone strike near Afgoye

Oct. 28, 2013: Al-Shabab bomb maker Ibrahim Ali Abdi “Anta Anta” killed by drone strike near Jilib

Jan. 26, 2014: Drone strike kills Ahmed Abdulkadir Iskudhuuq, a senior Adviser to al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane

Sept. 1, 2014: Airstrikes kill Al-Shabab Emir Ahmed Abdi Godane near Sablale

Dec. 29, 2014: Drone strike kills Abdishakur Tahlil al-Shabab’s intelligence chief and head of Amniyat units

The Somali government says Dheeg, who was al-Shabab's chief of external operations, "was responsible for planning attacks inside and outside Somalia and was the brain behind the attacks."

It says he planned explosions and suicide missions, and was a "central figure" within al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab's attacks outside Somalia include the 2013 assault on Nairobi's Westgate mall, 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 killed the group's intelligence chief Tahil Abdishakur.

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

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