US drone kills al-Shabab leader in Somalia - Pentagon

Armed members of the militant group al-Shabab attend a rally on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia in this February 2012 file photo. Image copyright AP
Image caption Al-Shabab militants have been driven out of the group's strongholds in Somalia

The US defence department has confirmed that it has killed an al-Shabab leader, Adan Garar.

The Pentagon says the militant was hit by a drone equipped with Hellfire missiles in southern Somalia last Friday.

Garar was a suspect in the 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi that left 67 people dead.

The US believes Garar was overseeing operations that "target US persons and other Western interests".

He was a member of the security and intelligence wing and a "key operative responsible for coordinating al-Shabab's external operations", according to the Pentagon.

The operation took place about 150 miles (240km) west of Mogadishu near the town of Dinsoor.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Garar is accused of planning the 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi that killed 67 people

Washington has supported an African Union (AU) force, which has driven the fundamentalist group from strongholds across Somalia since 2011.

The US defence department said in a statement that Garar's death "has dealt another significant blow to the al-Shabab terrorist organisation in Somalia".

Hours before the Pentagon confirmed the news, an al-Shabab attack killed four in north-east Kenya.

The militant group has vowed to punish Kenya for its role in the AU force.

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