Senior Al Qaeda man killed in Somalia

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

NAIROBI/MOGADISHU - A Somali minister Tuesday said government forces had killed a senior Al Qaeda fighter who was also a member of Somali insurgent group al-Shabaab.

State-run Radio Mogadishu earlier reported that Amar Ibrahim, a Jordanian national, was killed on Monday.

National Security Minister Abdullahi Mohamed Ali confirmed to the BBC that a senior figure had been killed, but refused to name him.

Ibrahim had reportedly replaced Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan as Al Qaeda’s top man in Somalia. Kenyan-born Nabhan was killed in a US strike on Somali soil in September.

The US has been tracking Nabhan since the 2002 bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa, which claimed 15 lives.

He was also suspected of being behind a near-simultaneous failed attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner as it left Mombasa.

Al-Shabaab, which recently announced that is was joining Al Qaeda’s international Jihad, denied the claims.

The insurgent group, along with its ally Hizbul Islam, is pushing to oust the weak Western-backed government and controls much of Mogadishu and south and central Somalia.

A major government offensive is planned in the coming days, and thousands of civilians have been streaming out of the city .

Somalia is still locked in a full-scale insurgency one year after the appointment of Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed - a former insurgent ally - as president raised hopes of peace.

Filed under: Terrorism

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