The leader of the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab, who ordered the massacre at a Kenyan shopping mall last year, is believed to have been killed in a U.S. drone strike on Monday.
A total of 67 people were killed during the Westgate shopping mall massacre in Nairobi in September 2013.
U.S. Intelligence officials believe that the leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was travelling in a two-car convoy on Monday night that was hit by missiles from American drone aircraft.
Six people were killed in the attack. Somali authorities have said that they think Godane, 37, is among the dead; the Pentagon said that it is still awaiting confirmation.
“We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.
Witnesses reported a sound like an “earthquake” as missiles hit a forested region in Somalia’s Sablale forest district.
Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, is the spiritual leader of al-Shabab. The group became the most high-profile terrorist group in Africa after forging an alliance with al-Qaida under Godane’s direction.
The same group is responsible for a 2010 suicide bombing at a World Cup watching party in Uganda that left 74 dead and 70 injured.
Godane was listed by the US State Department as one of the world’s most wanted terror fugitives; in 2012, the U.S. government put a $7 million price tag on Godane’s head.
After Monday night’s airstrikes, locals in the Sablale area reported that masked Islamic militants in the area arrested dozens of residents on suspicion of spying for the US.
As of Tuesday, there has still been no confirmation of Godane’s death.