Somalia on high alert after al-Shabab leader confirmed dead

WEB_PHOTO_SOMALIA_13042013

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is pictured during an interview

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is pictured during an interview

WEB_PHOTO_SOMALIA_13042013

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is pictured during an interview

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is pictured during an interview

MOGADISHU - Somalia&39;s government warned Saturday that the country&39;s Al-Qaeda-linked Shabab rebels were planning a wave of retaliatory attacks after it was confirmed their leader was killed earlier this week in a US air strike.

"Security agencies have obtained information indicating that Al-Shabab is now planning to carry out desperate attacks against medical facilities, education centres and other government facilities.

The security forces are ready to counter their attacks and we call on people to help the security forces in standing against violent acts," National Security Minister Kalif Ahmed Ereg told reporters.

Somalia&39;s president on Friday thanked the United States for killing the leader of the country&39;s Al-Qaeda-linked Shabab militants in an air strike earlier this week.

‘After cooperation between the Somali and the American government during this week, the American forces targeted a convoy transporting the Al-Shabab terrorist group leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and some of his coworkers. We are confirming that no one in that convoy survived the attack,’ a statement from the office of Somalia&39;s internationally-backed President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said. 

The president also called on al-Shabab fighters to lay down their arms. Earlier this week the government, which is backed by an African Union force, gave Shabab fighters 45 days to surrender and benefit from an amnesty deal. ‘One of the main pillars of the Somali war has gone, so there is no reason for Somalia&39;s youth to continue with a war when its day are numbered,’ the statement said.