Washington: On Monday, U.S. confirmed that it has killed the deputy leader of the terrorist group Islamic State in a drone strike carried out in Bari region of Somalia.
On Sunday, a local security official had said that an air strike has killed the deputy leader of the Islamic State group in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region, alongside another militant.
A witness said a 4×4 vehicle was hit by several missiles 3 km (2 miles) outside the village of Xiriiro in the Qandala hills at 1 p.m. (1000 GMT) on Sunday.
“Today’s air strike killed Abdihakim Dhuqub, the deputy leader of Islamic State,” Puntland’s security minister, Abdisamad Mohamed Galan, told Reuters.
According to the United Nations, Dhuqub helped set up the first cell of al-Ittihad al-Islamiya (AIAI), an ideological predecessor to al Shabaab, a militant group fighting the Somali national government for over a decade.
He later defected to Islamic State.
“Several missiles hit a Suzuki car. Then helicopters hovered over the scene,” Mohamed Iid, a resident of Xiriiro, was quoted by Reuters. “It was a deafening air strike. We reached the scene after the helicopters left. The car completely melted.”
On Monday, the airstrike was officially confirmed in a statement by U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM).