US military confirms Shabaab’s emir was target of airstrike

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, provided some additional details on last night’s airstrike on Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in Somalia. Shabaab’s emir, Ahmed Abdi Godane, a.k.a. Mukhtar Abu Zubayr, was the target of the strike, which included both drones and manned aircraft, Kirby confirmed. And the strike hit a Shabaab “encampment” south of Mogadishu. From Kirby’s press briefing:

Yesterday, at approximately 11:20 Eastern Time, working from actionable intelligence, U.S. special operations forces using manned and unmanned aircraft destroyed an encampment and a vehicle using several Hellfire missiles and laser-guided munitions.

This operation was a direct strike against the Al-Shabaab network, specifically the group’s leader, Ahmed Abdi al-Muhammad, also known Ahmed Godane. We are still assessing the results of the operation, and we’ll provide additional information when and if appropriate.

Kirby would not say whether Godane or other senior Shabaab leaders were killed. Somali officials said earlier today that Shabaab leaders Muhammad Abu Abdallah, the group’s shadow governor of Lower Shabelle; Muhammad Abu Sham, Godane’s aide; Ali Muhammad Gulled, a logistics officer; Muhammad Husayn Nur (a.k.a. Abu Hamza Al Ayman); Sheikh Muhammad Dulyaden; Iqri Ubayd, a Sudanese operative; and Mubarak Abdallah, a Yemeni, were all present at the camp during the strike. [See LWJ report, US targets Shabaab’s leadership in southern Somalia.]

Shabaab has yet to comment on the strike, which took place at a Shabaab camp located between the villages of Dhay Tubako and Haway along the Shabelle River south of Mogadishu.

The loss of Godane would likely be a temporary setback for the jihadist group. Shabaab has an established leadership cadre, and has proved resilient after losing senior leaders in the past.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • gabriel says:

    great work by our military! any update?

  • Eric says:

    He was killed in this strike

  • Arjuna says:

    Got him. Take that, you sleazy bastards.
    Temporary setback, sure, but we’re ramping up in a continent I know well and which has been festering for too long. It’s been Z’s idea to expand the brand and connect nodes there (see Aug. 2013 conf.). We need to put the heat on BH in just the same way. Leadership and aggregation targeting.
    Sammie-girl, I hope you’re watching. No matter how many of these fanatical animals you sleep with, you will still go nowhere. Your death will please many lovers of life, and peace.

  • sundoesntrise says:

    Arjuna, they are not “sleeping”. They are dead. Deceased. They do not have the capacity to hear or see you.

  • Lyle says:

    Wack-a-Molea and nothing more, FACT!

  • port_blair says:

    After long time I am back at longwarjournal. I had to struggle
    to figure out who Arjuna was referring to the infamous Lewthwaite.
    She seems so have escaped the long arm of the law by the hair.
    I recently watched a video shot in Mogadishu. That country is
    worst affected. The Somalis from Toronto to Minnesota and Londonistan are running to fight in global jihad. I recall meeting
    many young Somalis in bus and train stations in Ottawa, Toronto.
    Blowing away Godane was a good thing. But I am afraid unless
    more strikes occur the festering wasteland that is Somalia will
    spawn more such scum. BOH has really very little focus
    on Somalia and too little time is left for the current US govt.
    Hence I expect more Shabaab attacks – sadly in the future
    in Kenya and even in other parts of Africa. Shabaab will simply send more fighters to AfPak and Syria

  • Michael says:

    This is a good start.


Islamic state



Al shabaab

Boko Haram