Somalia kills Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, widening Al Qaeda power vacuum
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, wanted by the FBI for planning the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, is the third senior Al Qaeda leader to be killed in little over a month.
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Evan Kohlmann, a terrorist expert quoted by the Washington Post, said Mohammed's death was "one the final nails in the coffin of the original first generation al-Qaeda leaders in East Africa,” said Evan Kohlmann, a terrorism expert in a Washington Post article.
Mohammed played a critical role for the Al Qaeda organization in bringing together militant groups in East Africa who had largely nationalist and regional goals, reports the Los Angeles Times. Born in the region, Mohammed managed to encourage groups such as Somalia’s Al Shabab militant group to take on a larger, global jihad.
Commanders from Al Shabab have confirmed the Al Qaeda leader’s death and expressed their sadness, but asserted that "thousands" of like-minded militants would continue the fight.
“One of the men that was killed near Mogadishu was Fazul Abdullah, may Allah bless his soul. He is not dead as thousands like him are still in the fight against the enemy of Allah,” a senior Al Shebab commander told Agence France-Presse.
Mohammed is the third major commander killed since the bin Laden raid on May 2. Earlier this month, Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior Al Qaeda leader who helped plan the 2008 Mumbai attack, was reportedly killed in Pakistan by a US drone strike.
So far, the killing of Kashmiri and Mohammed appear to have been conducted without any intelligence collected from the bin Laden raid. Still, many Al Qaeda leaders may well be on edge that they may be next.
“So soon after the death of Osama bin Laden, this will have al-Qaeda's remaining leadership worried,” said terrorism expert Neil Doyle in an article by Britain's Daily Mirror.
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