US military launches airstrikes against Al-Shabab leader in Somalia


File: A US army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flies over the skies of Baghdad on 24 July 2008.

MOGADISHU - US military forces launched air strikes against the leader of Somalia&39;s Al-Qaeda-linked Shabab, the government said Tuesday, but gave no details if the attack was successful.

"The Americans carried out a major air strike targeting a gathering by senior Al-Shabab officials, including their leader Abu-Zubayr," said Abdukadir Mohamed Nur, governor for southern Somalia&39;s Lower Shabelle region.

Abu-Zubayr is the often used name for Shabab supreme commander Ahmed Abdi Godane, listed by the US State Department as one of the world&39;s eight top terror fugitives.

The Pentagon have confirmed an "operation" was carried out but gave no further details.

On Monday Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said that US military forces carried out an operation against Al-Qaeda-linked Shabab militants in Somalia.

"We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate," he added in a statement.

It comes a day after Shabab rebels carried out a car bomb and gun attack against an intelligence headquarters in central Mogadishu, leaving at least seven militants and five others dead.

Shabab rebels have targeted key areas of the Somali government or the security forces in an apparent bid to discredit claims by the authorities -- who are backed by the African Union&39;s 22,000-strong AMISOM force --that they are winning the war against the Islamist fighters.

Al-Shabab is fighting to topple Somalia&39;s internationally-backed government, and regularly launch attacks against state targets, as well as in neighboring countries that contribute to the AU force in Somalia.