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US, Somali forces kill Al-Shabaab commander responsible for multiple attacks, official says

By Xiaofei Xu and Nimi Princewill, CNN

(CNN) — Maalim Ayman, a senior leader of the Al-Shabaab militant group operating in Somalia and Kenya, was killed on December 17 by a joint military operation between the Somali and US forces, Somali Minister for Information Daud Aweis announced Friday.

“Ayman was accountable for planning multiple lethal terrorist attacks in Somalia and nearby countries,” Aweis said in a statement on social media.

Most notably, Ayman is responsible for a terrorist attack on US and Kenyan personnel at Kenya’s Manda Bay Airfield on January 5, 2020, US officials say.

Three Americans were killed, including one soldier and two civilian contractors. Two more US service members and one civilian contractor were wounded, according to a statement from the US Department of State.

The US government put out a bounty of up to $10 million for “information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of Maalim Ayman” in January of this year.

Al-Shabaab was designated by the US as a terrorist group in 2008 and by a UN Security Council committee in 2010.

CNN has reached out to the US State Department for comment.

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