_________________________________ Press TV Iran
US raid kills 2 Somali rebel leaders
US planes attack a house in central Somalia, allegedly belonging to the head of al-Shabab rebel forces, killing two senior insurgents.
The planes bombed the house of Aden Hashi Ayro, the leader of al-Shabab militias, at around 3 a.m. local time in the Somali town of Dusamareb in Galgadud region, a Press TV correspondent in Somalia reported.
Residents said the house was entirely damaged in the bombing launched by four US planes.
Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Ali confirmed that Aden Hashi had been killed in the attack along with another senior leader named Sheikh Muhdin Omar.
Sheikh Mukhtar vowed revenge on the US and ‘their puppets’, adding the insurgents would not enter into talks with President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed’s government.
Al-Shabab -branded as a terrorist group by Washington- is the military wing of Islamic Courts Union (ICU) which carries out attacks against government forces and Ethiopian allies.
Alleged head of al-Qaida in Somalia said killed in airstrike
By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The man believed to be the head of al-Qaida in Somalia was killed in an overnight airstrike along with eight other people, an Islamic insurgent group said Thursday.
The spokesman for the Islamic al-Shabab militia, Sheik Muqtar Robow, said the strike killed Aden Hashi Ayro, his brother and seven others at his house in the central Somali town of Dusamareeb, about 300 miles north of Mogadishu.
Six more people were wounded.
"Our brother martyr Aden Hashi, has received what he was looking for — death for the sake of Allah — at the hands of the United States," Robow told The Associated Press by phone.
"This would not deter us from continuing our holy war against Allah’s enemy; we will be on the right way, that is why we are targeted. I call for our holy fighters to remain strong in their position and keep up the jihad," he added.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the airstrike.
Over the past year, the U.S. military has attacked several suspected extremists in Somalia, most recently in March when the U.S. Navy fired at least one missile into a southern Somali town.
Somali government officials have said Ayro trained in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and is the head of al-Qaida’s cell in Somalia.
He was a key figure in the al-Shabab movement, which aims to impose Islamic law and launches daily attacks on the shaky Somali government and their Ethiopian allies. Ayro also recently called for attacks on African peacekeepers in Somalia in a recording on an Islamic Web site.
Local resident Nur Geele said the attack occurred around 3 a.m.
"We heard a huge explosion and when we ran out of our house we saw a ball of smoke and flames coming out of the house where one of the leaders of al-Shabab Aden Hashi Ayro was staying," he said.
Al-Shabab is the armed wing of the Council of Islamic Courts movement. The State Department considers al-Shabab a terrorist organization.
The Council of Islamic Courts seized control of much of southern Somalia, including the capital, Mogadishu, in 2006. But troops loyal to the U.N.-backed interim Somali government and the allied Ethiopian army drove the group from power that December.
Ethiopia’s archenemy, Eritrea, has offered assistance to the group, and it is re-emerging.
In recent months it has briefly taken several towns, freeing prisoners and seizing weapons from government forces. The insurgents usually withdraw after a few hours but continue to target Ethiopian and Somali forces in an Iraq-style insurgency.
The United States has repeatedly accused the Islamic group of harboring international terrorists linked to al-Qaida, which is allegedly responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
America is concerned Somalia is a breeding ground for terrorist groups, particularly after the Islamic militants briefly gained control of the south and Osama bin Laden declared his support for them.
Fighting between government troops and the insurgents claimed thousands of lives last year and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes.
Air raid kills Somali militants
The leader of the military wing of an Islamist insurgent organisation in Somalia has been killed in an overnight air strike.
Aden Hashi Ayro, al-Shabab’s military commander, died when his home in the central town of Dusamareb was bombed.
Ten other people, including a senior militant, are also reported dead.
A US military spokesman told the BBC that it had attacked what he called a known al-Qaeda target in Somalia, but refused to give further details.
Al-Shabab, considered a terrorist group by the US, is the military wing of the Somali Sharia courts movement, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), until Ethiopian troops ousted them in 2006.
The group has since regrouped and is in effect in control of large parts of central and southern Somalia.
An al-Shabab spokesman, Mukhtar Robow Adumansur, told the BBC that Ayro was killed along with his "brother in Islam" in the attack.
Locals said it happened at about 0300 (2400 GMT).
"We heard a huge explosion and when we ran out of our house we saw balls of smoke and flames coming out of house," Nur Geele told the BBC.
The house was totally destroyed to the ground, also other houses nearby," local elder Ahmed Mumin Jama said.
Ayro received training in Afghanistan in the 1990s and was an instrumental military figure as the UIC took control of Mogadishu in the second half of 2006, says the head of the BBC’s Somali Service Yusuf Garad.
The US says al-Shabab is part of the al-Qaeda network, although correspondents say it is impossible to accurately establish those links.
Al-Shabab leaders say it is a purely Somali movement and they deny any involvement with al-Qaeda.
In its annual report on terrorism published on Wednesday, the US said al-Shabab militants in Somalia, along with al-Qaeda militants in east Africa, posed "the most serious threat to American and allied interests in the region".
Al-Shabab has been at the forefront of a guerrilla insurgency against the government and its Ethiopian allies since early 2007.
In recent weeks, they have briefly captured several towns in central and southern Somalia before withdrawing.
The US has launched several air strikes against suspected extremist targets in Somalia in recent months.
It has an anti-terror task force based in neighbouring Djibouti, and has accused Somali Islamists of harbouring those responsible for the 1998 attacks on its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The Islamists denied this.
Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991.