The Somali government says al-Shabab's intelligence chief was killed in a U.S. airstrike near the town of Saakow.
A statement issued Tuesday by Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency said Abdishakur Tahlil and two others were killed in Monday's strike. It said he was traveling between Saakow and the village of Jawari when his vehicle was destroyed.
At the Pentagon, a spokesman confirmed that Tahlil was the target of the U.S. airstrike, but he would not confirm whether the attempt was successful. There were thought to be no civilian casualties.
In September, another U.S. airstrike in Somalia killed al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.
The al-Qaida affiliated al-Shabab is trying to overthrow the Somali government and turn the country into a conservative Islamic state. Somali and African Union troops have had success in beating back the militants over the past year.