- The Washington Times - Friday, September 5, 2014

U.S. officials confirmed Friday that the leader of the al-Shabab terrorist group was killed Monday in a rare U.S. drone strike in Somalia.

The Obama administration described the death of Ahmed Godane as “a major symbolic and operational loss” to the largest al Qaeda affiliate in Africa.

Godane was among six militants who were killed Monday when U.S. military aircraft dropped Hellfire missiles on their convoy in Somalia, according to Pentagon officials.

President Obama said Friday that the successful counterterrorism mission was “an important step forward in the fight against al-Shabab.”

The U.S. will continue to use financial, diplomatic, intelligence and military means to address the threat that al-Shabab and other terrorist groups pose to the American people, he said.

Pentagon officials spent days sifting through intelligence to verify the strike’s success.

Godane’s could spark friction among al-Shabab members, according to security analysts. The terrorist leader had no heir apparent and there are reports of a rift within al-Shabab over which global terror group to it should align with, said Matt Bryden, head of Sahan Research in Nairobi.

A struggle for power seems likely, Mr. Bryden said.

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