US Airstrike “Hit What We Were Aiming At” in Somalia, Kirby Says

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said manned and unmanned aircraft operated by US Special Forces conducted a strike with precision munitions against an encampment and a vehicle in Somalia based on “actionable intelligence” that a key leader of the al Shabab terrorist organization was there. Kirby said officials were assessing whether the leader, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, also known as Ahmed Godane, was killed in the Sept. 1 strike. “We certainly believe that we hit what we were aiming at,” said Kirby, who noted it’s too early to say for sure. Zubeyr was suspected of directing the deadly raid on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last year. Kirby told Pentagon reporters there were “no US troops on the ground, before or after” the air strike. Abdiqadir Mohamed Sidii, governor of the Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia, an area still under al Shabab control, told Reuters on Monday, that Zubery and “seven senior members” were killed in the strike.