The US military targeted a senior leader in the Amniyat, Shabaab’s intelligence and security service, in an airstrike south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu two days ago. It is unclear if the target of the airstrike was killed or if he survived.
The US launched an airstrike against Adan Garaar, “a top official” in the Amniyat, Voice of America reported. The strike targeted and destroyed Garaar’s vehicle as it traveled near the town of Bardhere, Somali officials and sources close to Shabaab told VOA.
The US military confirmed in a briefing yesterday that it launched “a counterterrorism operation” on a road south of Mogadishu. “No boots on the ground” were involved in the operations, Colonel Steve Warren said, indicating that US aircraft were used. “Warren described the target as high value,” the US military stated, but did not name the target of the strike or indicate if he was killed.
Garaar is the third senior leader in the Amniyat that has been targeted by the US since the end of 2014.
The US has targeted and killed several top leaders of the Amniyat in the recent past. On Jan. 31, 2015, the US killed Yusuf Dheeq, the previous emir of the Amniyat. Dheeq had replaced Tahlil Abdishakur, who was killed in an airstrike in Somalia on Dec. 29, 2014.
Shabaab’s leadership has taken some significant hits since the summer of 2014. In addition to losing Dheeg and Abdishakur, the US killed Ahmed Abdi Godane, the previous leader of Shabaab who was also known as Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubayr, in another airstrike on Sept. 1, 2014. Several of the group’s leaders and commanders were also killed along with Godane, who was also known as Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubayr.
The Amniyat is a key organization within Shabaab. It is instrumental in executing suicide attacks inside Somalia as well as in Kenya and other African nations, conducting assassinations, providing logistics and support for operations, and integrating the group’s local and regional commands. A top Amniyat official known as “Hassan” is said to have received direct instructions from al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri on training operatives in Africa. [See LWJ report, UN warned of Shabaab ally’s ‘new and more complex operations’ in Kenya, and Threat Matrix report, Zawahiri’s man in Shabaab’s ‘secret service’.]