Top Al-Qaeda Operative Killed in Somalia

Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a top al-Qaeda operative suspected of being behind the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, was killed in a shootout with Somali police on Tuesday, authorities in the country told Reuters.

Senior national security officer Halima Aden confirmed Mohammed’s death at a checkpoint in Mogadishu around midnight Tuesday. “We have confirmed he was killed by our police at a control checkpoint this week,” Aden said. “He had a fake South African passport and of course other documents. After thorough investigation, we confirmed it was him, and then we buried his corpse.”

Mohammed, who was believed to be in his mid 30s, eluded authorities for over a decade. A computer expert and a linguist who spoke five languages, Mohammed was included in the FBI’s most wanted list for his role in the U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The bombings killed 240 people.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Mohammed’s death was a major victory in the battle against terrorism. “Harun Fazul’s death is a significant blow to al Qaeda, its extremist allies, and its operations in East Africa,” she said in Tanzania.