US air strike in Somalia targets al-Shabab leader

Somalia's army, file pic Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Somalia's army has been fighting the Islamist rebels with help from the African Union

The US says it has conducted an air strike against the Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab in Somalia.

Its target was a "senior leader" in the area of Saakow, according to a statement by the US defence department.

"At this time, we do not assess there to be any civilian or bystander casualties," it said.

The US has supported the African Union (AU) force that has driven al-Shabab out of the capital Mogadishu and other towns since 2011.

In September, al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in a US air strike.

The US did not identify the leader targeted in the latest strike or say whether the strike was successful.

The statement continued: "We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information, when appropriate, as details become available."

The air strike came two days after top al-Shabab militant, Zakariya Ahmed Ismail Hersi, gave himself up.

Mr Hersi, a leading figure in the militant group's intelligence wing, surrendered to police in the Gedo region.

In June 2012, the US state department offered $3m (£1.9m; 2.5m euros) for information leading to his capture.

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