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Somalia airstrike kills top al-Shabaab leaders

September 24, 2023 at 2:33 pm

A view of the damaged building as people inspect the area after car bomb attack occured in Beledweyne, Somalia on September 23, 2023 [Abuukar Mohamed Muhidin/Anadolu Agency]

Somalia announced late Saturday that its armed forces carried out an airstrike in the central province of Galgadud that targeted an al-Shabaab meeting house in Elbur, reports Anadolu Agency.

The Defense Ministry said top leaders, including al-Shabaab’s finance and extortion chief, who was identified only as Sahal, were killed in the strike.

The al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group has been “dealt a severe blow” and key leaders and terrorist fighters were killed, Information Minister Daud Aweis wrote on X.

He said Somalia’s determination to “eradicate terrorism remains unshaken.”

Elbur is a strategic town that is 377 kilometres (234 miles) from the nation’s capital of Mogadishu, which has been an al-Shabaab stronghold for more than 15 years.

Last month, the Somali government said its forces liberated the town but “retreated” days after.

The Defense Ministry said separately that another operation in the vicinity of Shabeelow in Mudig “neutralised” more than 30 terrorists Saturday.

“The operation dismantled key gathering points, safeguarding Somali people,” it said.

The airstrike came hours after a suicide truck car bomb in the central town of Beledwayne killed more than 18 people and wounded 40 others.

READ: At least 18 killed in suicide truck bombing in Somalia