Military officials confirmed the death of Abdulhakim Dhuqub in an airstrike which occurred in Somalia’s Puntland region. The Puntland region is thought to be an area where most of the fighters are based – albeit it is nowhere near as large as other terrorist organisation al-Shabaab. Carried out in conjunction with the Somali government, the attack took place near Xiriiro in Bari region.
A US military statement said: “At this time, it is assessed this airstrike killed only Dhuqub and destroyed one vehicle.
“Abdulhakim Dhuqub was responsible for the daily operations of the extremist group, attack planning, and resource procurement.”
The Islamic State in Somalia has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks over the last few years.
A local resident said of the attack: “Several missiles hit a Suzuki car. Then helicopters hovered over the scene.
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“It was a deafening air strike. We reached the scene after the helicopters left.
“The car completely melted.”
US defence officials estimate ISIS’ Somalia wing as fewer than 150 fighters.
Al Qaeda’s affiliated al-Shabaab militant group, however, commands a force of approximately 5,000.
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Major General Gregg Olson, US Africa Command director of operations, said: “We continue to work with our Somali partners to keep pressure on the al-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia terror networks.”
US military officials have made progress against both groups recently following security reforms made by Somalian Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre.
Mr Khayre was in Washington last week where he met with National Security Adviser John Bolton.
The Somalian Prime Minister also met with senior defence officials at the Pentagon as ties between the two countries continue to grow.