Al-Shabab leader was killed in drone strike

Posted at 5:15 PM, Apr 01, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. drone strike in Somalia has killed a key leader of the al-Shabab militant group who was involved in two attacks in Mogadishu more than a year ago, killing Americans, several U.S. officials said Friday.

Hassan Ali Dhoore and two others were killed in the strike Thursday about 20 miles south of Jilib in southern Somalia not far from the Kenya border, the officials said. They said Dhoore helped facilitate a deadly Christmas Day 2014 attack at the airport and a March 2015 attack at the Maka al-Mukarramah Hotel, both in Mogadishu. U.S. citizens were among those killed in the two attacks, the officials said.

One senior official also said that Dhoore was believed to be involved in plotting more attacks that would have targeted U.S. citizens.

In the Christmas 2014 assault, gunmen attacked the African Union's main base leading to an exchange of gunfire between militants and soldiers that killed at least nine people, including three soldiers.

Three months later, gunmen from the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab rebel group launched an attack in the reception area of the hotel in the Somali capital, killing at least 24, including six attackers.

The U.S. officials were not authorized to discuss the drone strike publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.