US Confirms Somali Terrorist Leader Godane Killed in Airstrike

The White House and the Pentagon confirmed Friday that Ahmed Godane, the leader of the Somalia terrorist organization al Shabaab, was killed in a Sept. 1 airstrike. “Godane’s removal is a major symbolic and operational loss to the largest al Qaeda affiliate in Africa and reflects years of painstaking work by our intelligence, military, and law enforcement professionals,” the White House said in a statement. Despite this successful action, “the United States will continue to use the tools at our disposal—financial, diplomatic, intelligence, and military— to address the threat that al Shabaab and other terrorist groups pose to the United States and the American people.” US intelligence has said Godane was responsible for the bloody attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last September and was targeting Americans and other westerners in East Africa. The Pentagon had reported that US manned and unmanned aircraft hit an encampment and a vehicle in Somalia based on “actionable information” that Godane was there. Although Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said “we hit what we aimed at,” he could not confirm at the time that Godane was killed. The White House did not say how they had determined Godane was dead. (Kirby statement)