Air strike kills senior al Shabaab Somalia commander

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A senior commander in Somalia’s al Shabaab group with a $5 million bounty on his head was killed in an American air strike last month, according to Somalia state media, a blow to the militants’ Islamist insurgency.

According to a Somalia state radio report , Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud was head of al Shabaab operations and died in an American air strike on February 22 in the Sakow district of the Jubba region in Somalia’s south.

Mahamoud used the alias Bashir Qoorgaab from time to time.

“AFRICOM forces killed in an air strike Bashir Mohamed (Qoorgaab), the operation head and executive member of al Shabaab,” state radio reported, using the acronym for the US Military’s Africa Command.

The radio report said Mahamoud was responsible for attacks on Somalia national army military bases among others.

Al Shabaab has been fighting to topple Somalia’s central government and establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law since 2008.

The group’s campaign of bombings and gun attacks has targeted Somali military bases and civilian infrastructure including hotels, bars and schools in both Somalia and other regional countries.

Al Shabaab fighters also target the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force AMISOM, which helps defend the central government.

The United States frequently carries out air strikes in Somalia aimed against al Shaabab, attempting to degrade their capabilities and ultimately defeating them.