US Airstrike Kills Head of Al-Qaeda in Somalia

The leader of al-Qaida in Somalia was killed in a US airstrike today.
Aden Hashi Farah Ayro was said to have gone to Afghanistan to train with al-Qaeda before 2001.
AP reported:

The American military launched an airstrike Thursday targeting the head of al-Qaida in Somalia, a U.S. defense official said. The head of an Islamic insurgent group said the attack killed its leader.

Islamist leader Aden Hashi Ayro, believed to be the head of al-Qaida in Somalia, was killed when the airstrike struck his house in the central Somali town of Dusamareeb, about 300 miles north of Mogadishu, said Sheik Muqtar Robow, a spokesman for the Islamic al-Shabab militia.

Another commander and seven others were also killed, Robow said. Six more people were wounded, two of whom later died, said resident Abdullahi Nor.

“Our brother martyr Aden Hashi, has received what he was looking for — death for the sake of Allah — at the hands of the United States,” Robow told The Associated Press by phone.

Well, we’re all glad that he got what he was looking for.

Civilians flee Mogadishu following fierce clashes between Islamist rebels and Somali troops on April 2008. The Ethiopian government, a key Washington ally in the region, has confirmed that the US military bombed an Islamist camp in Somalia, killing Al-Qaeda’s military leader in the war-torn country. (AFP/File/Abdirashid Abdulle)


Reuters posted some key facts about the Al-Qaeda leader:

* Ayro headed the Shabaab, the feared military wing of the Somali Islamist administration ousted from power in 2006 which had been waging an insurgency against government forces.

* Trained in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, Ayro came to attention when he was linked to the murders of four aid workers in Somaliland and more than a dozen Somalis with Western ties.

* The United States accused him of links to al Qaeda, through his mentor Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who led the former Islamist administration. Aweys always denied ties to al Qaeda.

* Ayro drew international condemnation for digging up a colonial-era Italian cemetery in Mogadishu in January 2005. He built a mosque there and intelligence experts said he also had a training camp for militants there.

* Security experts and diplomats say Ayro’s help to al Qaeda includes providing safe haven, weapons and housing to its members.

* Among those he is said to have assisted is Abu Talha al-Sudani, a Sudanese national thought to be al Qaeda’s east African chief and accused by Washington of directing an attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya in 2002.

* U.S. military officials say they believe Ayro was wounded in an air strike in January 2007.

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