Did US kill Al-Shabaab leader responsible for Kenya mall massacre?

posted at 9:21 am on September 2, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The US reportedly targeted Ahmed Abdi Godane in a military strike on Somalia overnight, but the Pentagon has kept a tight seal on the operation other than to acknowledge that one took place. Godane runs al-Shabaab, the Somalian radical Islamist terror network that took credit for the massacre in a Kenyan mall a year ago, and Godane is widely believed to have run that operation:

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said in a statement late Monday only that “we are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate.” Godane has served as the group’s leader since a U.S. airstrike killed his predecessor Aden Hashi Ayro in 2008. In October, U.S. commandos launched raids in Somalia seeking to capture Godane, who is also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr. Reuters reported that Godane’s close associate, Ahmed Mohamed Amey, was killed by a U.S. airstrike in January. In an online audio message following the Westgate Mall massacre, Godane said Kenya should be “prepared for an abundance of blood that will be spilt in your country.”

The Somalian embassy in Washington DC appears to have confirmed Godane’s death (via Twitchy):

According to local reports, Godane may not have been the only target. The strike came during a meeting of al-Shabaab commanders:

An air strike by U.S. military forces struck an area where leaders of Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked militants were meeting, intelligence sources said on Tuesday, but it was unclear whether any insurgent commanders were killed.

The strike prompted rumours among Somali government officials that it had targeted al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and other leaders who were suspected to have been at the location, but there was no confirmation they were hit.

If he were killed, it would be a major victory against the group.

If the strike took out more leaders than just Godane, it could cripple al-Shabaab for at least some period of time. It also suggests that the intel on the ground is improving in Somalia. The US has conducted two military operations since the massacre, killing a senior al-Shabaab commander in January, Ahmed Mohamed Amey. The earlier mission, conducted last October, came up empty-handed when special forces encountered a higher level of resistance than expected, as well as the presence of children in the combat zone.

The Telegraph reports that Godane was killed, quoting Somalian government sources:

Somali officials said the first they knew about Monday’s drone attack was when government and African Union forces patrolling in the area heard a series of huge explosions in the Sablale forest area.
The strike came as local al-Shabaab forces were on the back foot from a government offensive aimed at seizing key ports under militant control.

“The Americans carried out a major air strike targeting a gathering by senior Al-Shabaab officials, including their leader Abu-Zubayr,” said Abdukadir Mohamed Nur, governor for southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region. “They were meeting to discuss about the current offensive in the region. There were casualties inflicted on the militants, but we don’t have details so far.”

If confirmed as dead, Godane becomes the latest in a long line of al-Shabaab commanders to be killed in US airstrikes. A US missile strike in January killed a high-ranking intelligence officer for the group, while last October one of its top explosives experts died in a hit on a vehicle carrying senior fighters. Godane himself is known to have taken extensive security precautions to avoid being targeted, following the death of one of his predecessors as leader of al-Shabaab, Adan Hashi Ayro, in a US missile strike in 2008.

Godane’s death would be a severe blow for the group, which has lost much of its terrority in Somalia in the last two years as a result of successful offensives by Somalia’s US and UN-backed government. From having once controlled much of the capital, Mogadishu, it is now confined mainly to isolated rural areas, although it still launches numerous hit-and-run attacks.

The AP reports that six were killed in the strike, but I’d assume that number will go higher if the description in the Telegraph is accurate. We’ll see if Godane was among them.


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Why are we doing this if Bin Laden is dead and thus the threat of Islamic terrorists is over.

It’s almost as if we are dealing with more than the thinking of one guy.

rbj on September 2, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Pentagon has kept a tight seal on the operation other than to acknowledge that one took place.

It’s about time they started doing that. I’ll bet there was a fight with the WH over it.

forest on September 2, 2014 at 9:32 AM

About time.
Let’s hope there was lots of collateral damage.
Personally I go with a 3 plane cell B-52 strike.

Bubba Redneck on September 2, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Pentagon has kept a tight seal on the operation other than to acknowledge that one took place.

It’s about time they started doing that. I’ll bet there was a fight with the WH over it.

forest on September 2, 2014 at 9:32 AM

That’s why it was done now, so OMuslim wouldn’t broadcast it.

Bubba Redneck on September 2, 2014 at 9:33 AM

It’s a start but we really have no idea how to defeat this extremism ideologically, do we?

Ye olde “hearts and minds” strategy.

I’m afraid Huntington was right, wasn’t he? It’s a clash of civilizations.

SteveMG on September 2, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Dog Eater killed at least 6 people and as we know, every foreign killing creates 10 more terrorists in their place.

So that’s 60 new terrorists that the Nobel Peace Prize winner has created who will now plague us, thanks for nothing, baby killer.

Bishop on September 2, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Coulter is right. We need to wipe out their leaders and convert them to Christianity.
It is a clash of civilizations. Rather, civilization against Islam.

Bubba Redneck on September 2, 2014 at 9:40 AM

If he were killed, it would be a major victory against the group.

Really? What about the thousands of bloodthirsty savages under their control?

faraway on September 2, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Dog Eater killed at least 6 people and as we know, every foreign killing creates 10 more terrorists in

their place.

So that’s 60 new terrorists that the Nobel Peace Prize winner has created who will now plague us, thanks for nothing, baby killer.

Bishop on September 2, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Hence the B-52′s. They will take out those 60 as well plus a few others.

Bubba Redneck on September 2, 2014 at 9:42 AM

If he were killed, it would be a major victory against the group.

Really? What about the thousands of bloodthirsty savages under their control?

faraway on September 2, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Let it slip that the are at least 20 spies in their midst. They’ll turn on each other like rabid animals.
I understand from news reports that this is already happening.

That and securing our borders.

Bubba Redneck on September 2, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Obama is pitiful in just about every way but one-Drone strikes killing terrorists is what he’s great at.

gerrym51 on September 2, 2014 at 9:48 AM

al-Shabaab has been Shish-Kabaabed

Republican Yogi on September 2, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Obama getting revenge for attacks on the homeland?

Buddahpundit on September 2, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Islam is like a Hydra with a million heads. These types of operations are more or less fruitless and if anything it just fills the survivors with more resolve to kill as many humans as possible until they themselves become martyrs. Until the operations are on scale such WW2 Japan, we’re just making political hay for the WH.

Deano1952 on September 2, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Nice that we’ve moved on from trying to capture him only to provide him with legal representation.Interrogating these people for a couple days on a boat prior to a trial sounds like a waste of time designed to deflect criticism over lack of intel rather than actually get any.

Recon5 on September 2, 2014 at 10:00 AM

MSNBC used to call this ‘war crimes’. What happened to them?

faraway on September 2, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Warmonger, that Obama. And if we took out a scumbag or two, good on him for it.

BKeyser on September 2, 2014 at 10:07 AM

MSNBC used to call this ‘war crimes’. What happened to them?

faraway on September 2, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Same thing that happened to Code Pink. Hiding out as soon as the light bringer was elected.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on September 2, 2014 at 10:33 AM

Like not telling FDR the date of the Torch landings.

And every bit as necessary

formwiz on September 2, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Did US kill Al-Shabaab leader responsible for Kenya mall massacre?

Doesn’t really matter. This strike was less about results than “doing something” about terrorists and terrorism. Since the ISO (Islamic States of Obama) is utterly untouchable the administration is going to go out after the other terrorists.

Happy Nomad on September 2, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Does this not show that killing one leader at a time makes little difference? Another one seems to always show up.

ojfltx on September 2, 2014 at 10:43 AM

MSNBC used to call this ‘war crimes’. What happened to them?

faraway on September 2, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Hey faraway- The 2000s called, they want their foreign policy back!

War crimes are like the homeless when it comes to the MSM. They only appear when there is a Republican in the White House.

Happy Nomad on September 2, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Believe me if they did get him Obama will be on every news channel (except fox) touting their praises – on the other hand if they didn’t get him they might just say they did anyway!

sissi212 on September 2, 2014 at 10:49 AM

It’s about time they started doing that. I’ll bet there was a fight with the WH over it.

forest on September 2, 2014 at 9:32 AM

.
It’s entirely possible that Preznit Dronestrike will read about this in the newspaper or right here on Hot Air… in any case, I wouldn’t put it past him not to have known anything about it.

ExpressoBold on September 2, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Nuke them from Orbit, its the only way to be sure.

brut4ce on September 2, 2014 at 11:01 AM

It doesn’t matter how many leaders are killed. The leaders are not the source of inspiration and religious duty. The aims are not set by the leaders, they just pick up an existing ball and run with it. Their followers are not lost and leaderless as you would like when they are killed. They too know exactly what they are to do. It is a 1400 year old play book. Of course if you knew Islam you would understand that and not get too excited over a whack-a-mole target worth 100 points. As long as the west thinks the problem will be solved by taking down apparent leaders of the moment, we will continue to lose.

BL@KBIRD on September 2, 2014 at 11:11 AM

It doesn’t matter, there’s always another one to take his place. Obama is just practicing the old Clinton doctrine of go in high, shoot fast, get out of the way and hit a camel in the butt. This weak show effort in that useless region is a complete farce.

rplat on September 2, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Will our chief muslim sympathizer in the white house declare a day of mourning. He might show up in a black suit today.

Remember Benghazi

crosshugger on September 2, 2014 at 11:36 AM

May latest bumper magnet: Saving terrorists, killing babies. It is the obama way.

Remember the bergdahl trade……

crosshugger on September 2, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Terrorist scumbags getting bombs dropped on their heads makes me happy.

Jack_Burton on September 2, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Remind me again why the US is punishing someone in another country for somethimg that happened in Africa?

Lance Corvette on September 2, 2014 at 11:59 AM

More rat killin’!

Obama scheduled a presser for later this afternoon to inform the world that ‘I formulated the strategy, I assembled the team, I flew the blackhawk, and I squeezed off the fatal round.’

Let’s go fundraising!

locomotivebreath1901 on September 2, 2014 at 12:11 PM

The person we must kill for this to end is Mohammed himself. Until Islam is completely obliterated new fanatics following the pedophile prophet will emerge.

jpmn on September 2, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Does Mr. Obama know that our military is doing this?

Mason on September 2, 2014 at 1:21 PM