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US military launched a drone strike yesterday, against a convoy carrying international militants linked to Al Qaeda, the convoy was travelling in an area known as K60 approximately 60KM (35M) south of the capital Mogadishu in the lower Shabelle region.
“We heard a very loud explosion, and people are saying the target was a vehicle of al-Shabab,” Ahmed Moalim, a resident in a nearby village” (AFP)
US officials confirmed the strike against the foreign convoy on a condition of anonymity, a second US official speaking to the assosiated press said a “white” Kenyan killed in the strike was not a target.
Eyewitnesses told the BBC that some of those killed appeared to be of European or Asian origin.
According to “somalimemo” a somali islamist news site sympathetic to Harakat Al Shabaab Al mujahideen (HSM), a member of Jihadi Al Qaeda affiliated Al Shumukh forum, partially revealed the identity of one of those targeted in the US drone strike.
Those killed according to the forum member are two Muhajireen (emigrants) and one Ansari (Supporter/Local).
The first is named a “Sheikh Abu Ibrahim” (pictured below) who is a Morrocan national, Sheikh Abu Ibrahim is said to be the man who features in a video released by HSM media wing Al kataib (the brigades) named “Ba’thu Osama” (usama’s expedition), Abu Ibrahim appears in the video eulogizing the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin laden killed in navy seal raid in the Pakistani city of abbotabad last year.
The other two are named as “abu ahmed” whose country of origin is not known as yet (possibly the “white” Kenyan US officials mentioned) , and Abu Bakar who is said to be a Somali national.
The prime minister of the weak but internationally backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG), said a day before the somalia conference held in London (23/02/2011) that, he would welcome targeted air strikes against Al Shabaab, so long civilian casualties are avoided.
U.S secretary of Hilary Clinton dismissed such strikes , perhaps fearing inevitable civilian casualties would cause anger amongst local population and further fuel the insurgency;
“I am not a military strategist, but I think I know enough to say air strikes would not be a good idea and we have absolutely no reason to believe anyone, certainly not the United States, is considering that.” (Reuters)
instead the CIA seems to be carrying out what has been described as “surgical” drone strike operations, against foreign elements within Al Shabaab it accuses of targeting foreign fighters it accuses of preparing attacks against US interest.
It is worth mentioning that, Moalim Adan Hashi farah Ayro is so far the only indigenous top insurgent leader killed in a US air strike back in 2008, that also claimed the lives of civilians in Dhusamareb.
Harakat Al Shabaab Al Mujahideen, who recently pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda , have so far neither confirmed or denied the drone strike.
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