Senior al-Shabaab official killed in US drone strike

Senior al-Shabaab official killed in US drone strike
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A senior officer within the al-Shabaab extremist group was killed in a U.S. drone strike, a Somali intelligence official told The Associated Press on Wednesday. 

The unidentified officer, whose vehicle was hit Tuesday, reportedly maintained contact with al-Shabaab with the hope of planning future attacks. He was killed outside the town Kunya Barow, an area that al-Shabaab controls, according to the AP.

The U.S. military said in a statement obtained by the AP that the officer was associated directly with al Qaeda, and the raid was completed in cooperation with the Somalian government.

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The Department of Defense did not immediately return a request for comment.

The United Nations said in a report this month that al-Shabaab remained a regional threat and was developing its own explosive weapons, the AP noted.

Earlier this year, NBC News reported that the Pentagon planned to reduce the U.S. military involvement in Somalia and decrease the number of airstrikes in the country after determining al-Shabaab did not pose a direct threat to the U.S.