Splash two in Somalia: US hits AQ boss, Reuters weeps

The US conducted a missile attack on a safe house in Somalia, and the regional al-Qaeda affiliate confirmed that the missile hit its objective. Aden Hashi Ayro, the leader of AQ in Somali, died with a dozen others in the house, including at least one other high-value target. We didn’t leave much to bury, either:

U.S. war planes killed an Islamist rebel said to be al Qaeda’s leader in Somalia and at least a dozen other people on Thursday in Washington’s biggest success in efforts to contain an insurgency raging since 2007.

The rebels said Aden Hashi Ayro — who led al Shabaab militants blamed for attacks on government troops and their Ethiopian allies — died in the first big hit for a string of U.S. air-strikes on Somali insurgents in the last year.

“Infidel planes bombed Dusamareb,” Shabaab spokesman Mukhtar Ali Robow told Reuters by phone, referring to a town in central Somalia, where body parts lay strewn round a wrecked house.

“Two of our important people, including Ayro, were killed.”

The death of the Afghanistan-trained militant is likely to bolster the Western-backed Somali government’s efforts to stem the insurgency that has been gaining ground in recent months. But it is sure to enrage Ayro’s fellow militants, who say they are fighting a jihad to eject Ethiopian troops.

Ah, al-Reuters — always looking for that cloud in the silver lining. Killing AQ leadership is “sure to enrage” other terrorists, eh? No kidding! Do it often enough, though, and a lot fewer are left to be enraged, and the coordination falls off enough to where their rage gets themselves killed rather than other people. Does Reuters believe that they would have lived lives of quiet contentment had Ayro been left alive?

In fact, later in the article, readers find out that Ayro was already a spread-the-rage-around kind of terrorist. He came from Afghanistan to lead the AQ organization in Somalia known as al Shabaab, and trained many of the terrorists in it. Ayro adopted the tactics used by AQ in Iraq, including suicide bombings, which had been unknown in the mainly Sufi Somalia until then. He had conducted a brutal terror offensive in Mogadishu, where thousands have died.

Oh, and Reuters also reports far down into the story that Ayro had targeted journalists reporting on terrorism in Somalia. One might think that ending the life of the terrorist leader who led that effort might make a news organization a little less concerned about whether his death would “enrage” his followers, but apparently not at Reuters.

The official count and identification of the bodies will take some time; the missile made the task so difficult that officials will have to count skulls to make an accurate count. However, Shabaab has been kind enough to inform the world that we got Osama’s man in Somalia and at least one of Ayro’s main lieutenants, and the confusion will likely force more of Ayro’s network to surface. We may see more success in Somalia in the days and weeks ahead as a result.