Unclear if Somalia militant leader killed in strike -U.S. official

by Reuters
Tuesday, 2 September 2014 14:35 GMT

WASHINGTON, Sept 2 (Reuters) - The United States is still assessing whether al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed along with other al Qaeda-linked militants in a U.S. airstrike in Somalia on Monday, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We don't know that he's dead. But he was the target," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Other U.S. officials said they believe Godane was killed, but that the U.S. government has not confirmed this yet.

If he were killed, it would be a major blow to the militant group.

Since taking charge in 2008, Godane has restyled the group as a global player in the al Qaeda franchise - a transformation that was highlighted when it killed at least 67 people in an attack on a Kenyan shopping mall last September. (Reporting by Phil Stewart and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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