Senior Al Qaeda man killed in SomaliaBy DPA, IANS
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.