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Airstrike Kills IS Senior Leader in Somalia

XIRIIRO, Somalia – A United States airstrike killed a senior leader of the extremist rebels of the Islamic State (IS) in Somalia, involved in attacks in northern Somalia, U.S. military and a Somali official said Monday.
The U.S. Africa Command said in statement that it carried out an airstrike near Xiriiro, a village in northern Somalia’s semi-independent Puntland state on Sunday, killing Abdulhakim Dhuqub, the deputy leader of the Somali extremists linked to the Islamic State group.
Dhuqub was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the extremist group, planning attacks and obtaining resources, the US military statement said.
The air strike targeted the vehicle carrying Dhuqub, the statement said. According to the US military, no civilian was wounded or killed as a result of the air strike.
“We continue to work with our Somali partners to keep up the pressure on the al-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia terror networks,” said Navy General Gregg Olson, director of operations for US Africa Command.
“We are using precision airstrikes to target those planning and carrying out violent extremist activities that put Somalis at risk,” he said.
Puntland Security Minister Abdisamad Mohamed Galan also confirmed the assassination of the American extremist leader in the air raid, which also reportedly killed other members of the group, without giving further details.
The airstrike took place as extremists traveled to their base in remote mountain villages in the region, a Somali intelligence official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the press.
The group “Islamic State in Somalia” was formed in late 2015 when extremist fighters from Puntland detach Al-Shabaab, linked to Al Qaeda. The leader of the new group, Abdulqadir Mumin, swore allegiance to the Islamic State group, perhaps influenced by an IS social media campaign urging them to defect.
Since May 2017, the group has launched attacks against security forces in the region and has also repeatedly confronted the largest al-Shabab group.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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