The Latest: Somalia says strike killed al-Shabab commander



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MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The Latest on a U.S. military drone strike in Somalia (all times local):

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7:10 p.m.

Somalia's government says it believes an al-Shabab commander has been killed in a joint operation with international partners.

A statement Monday says it is thought that Ali Mohamed Hussein died in the operation near Tortoroow, an al-Shabab stronghold in Lower Shabelle region. Ali had served as the extremist group's shadow governor for Mogadishu and had been one of its most outspoken officials.

Somalia's statement comes hours after the U.S. military said a drone strike killed an al-Shabab member on Saturday near Tortoroow.

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3:25 p.m.

A Somali intelligence official says a U.S. military airstrike targeted a leader of the al-Shabab extremist group but it is not clear if he was killed.

The official identifies the targeted leader as Ali Mohamed Hussein, who has served as the extremist group's shadow governor for Mogadishu and has been one of the group's most outspoken officials.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. The official says at least one missile struck a car in which the al-Shabab leader was travelling near Tortoroow, an al-Shabab stronghold in Lower Shabelle region.

The U.S. military says it carried out a drone strike in Somalia on Saturday and that an al-Shabab member was killed.

— Abdi Guled in Mogadishu, Somalia

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3:15 p.m.

The U.S. military says it has carried out a drone strike in Somalia that killed a member of the al-Shabab extremist group.

A statement Monday from the U.S. Africa Command says the airstrike occurred Saturday near Tortoroow in southern Somalia. The statement says no civilians were killed.

President Donald Trump earlier this year approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab, including more aggressive airstrikes and considering parts of southern Somalia areas of active hostilities.

The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab is the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa.

The U.S. statement says the airstrike was carried out in coordination with regional partners "as a direct response to al-Shabab actions, including recent attacks on Somali forces."

There was no immediate comment from Somali officials.

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