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Al Qaeda chief in East Africa said to have been killed in Somalia

Fazul Abdullah Muhammad, thought to be responsible for the 1998 US embassy bombings, was killed in Mogadishu earlier this week it was reported today.

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed in an undated FBI photo.
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed in an undated FBI photo.
Image: AP Photo/FBI

IT IS REPORTED that Al Qaeda’s chief in East Africa and the main operative behind the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania has been killed.

Somali officials have determined that a man killed by security forces on Tuesday was Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, said a spokesman for Somalia’s minister of information, Abdifatah Abdinur:

We’ve compared the pictures of the body to his old pictures. They are the same. It is confirmed. He is the man and he is dead. The man who died is Fazul Abdullah.

Mohamed had a $5 million bounty on his head for allegedly planning the 7 August 1998 embassy bombings which killed 224 people in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania combined.

Most of the dead were Kenyans. Twelve Americans also died.

AFP reports that Fazul Abdullah joined Al Qaeda in 1991 and is widely thought to have been behind the worst terrorist attack by Al Qaeda prior to 9/11.

From 2002 he was put in charge of Al-Qaeda’s operations in the whole of east Africa and that same year he planned anti-Israeli attacks in Mombasa that left 15 dead.

In 2007 he survived a US raid that left dozens of people dead at Ras Kamboni in southern Somalia.

Members of Somalia’s most dangerous militant group, al-Shabab, have pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda.

Al Shabab’s members include veterans of the Iraq and Pakistan conflicts and they were reported to be behind today’s killing of the Somalian interior minister.

Hundreds of foreign fighters are swelling the ranks of Al Shabab militants who are trying in vain to topple the country’s weak UN-backed government.

Somalia has been mired in violence since 1991, when the last central government collapsed.

- additional reporting from AP

Related: Possible Al Qaeda replacement for bin Laden killed in Pakistan by US drone strike >

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Hugh O'Connell

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