Al-Shabab Militants Have New Leader After US Airstrike

Attack killed former spiritual leader Ahmed Abdi Godane
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 6, 2014 3:01 PM CDT
Al-Shabab Militants Have New Leader After US Airstrike
In this Feb. 13, 2012 file photo, an armed member of the militant group al-Shabab attends a rally.   (AP Photo/File)

Somalian Islamic extremist rebels al-Shabab named Abu Ubeid Ahmed Omar to be their new leader following the killing of the previous leader by a US airstrike, said a commander of the group. The Somali militants unanimously selected Omar today at a meeting in an undisclosed location in Somalia, said rebel commander Abu Mohammed. Omar is believed to be an assumed name, and the new leader's real name is not known. The Somali group had to appoint a new leader following the death of Ahmed Abdi Godane, the group's spiritual leader who was killed by an airstrike on Monday.

Godane had publicly claimed al-Shabab was responsible for the deadly Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya that left 67 people dead one year ago. Somalia's government said last night that it has credible intelligence al-Shabab is planning attacks following Godane's death. In a televised speech, Somalia's national security minister said possible targets include medical and educational institutions; he said the government is vigilant and its armed forces are prepared to prevent such attacks. Meanwhile, Somalian president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has called on militants to reject the group, offering them a 45-day amnesty, the BBC reports. (Read more Somalia stories.)

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