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Somalia kills Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, widening Al Qaeda power vacuum

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Somali forces confirmed that they have killed Al Qaeda’s most senior operative in East Africa: Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, who planned the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanazania. The announcement comes as a blow to the terrorist organization, which has lost three of its top leaders in recent weeks, including Osama bin Laden.

US authorities had placed a $5 million bounty on Mohammed, who was responsible for at least 224 deaths in the embassy bombings.Somali forces killed Mr. Mohammed at a checkpoint in Mogadishu on Tuesday, but officials did not immediately realize they’d killed one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists until Saturday because Mohammed was carrying a South African passport. He and another person reportedly got lost and accidentally drove to a Somali security checkpoint point, reports the Washington Post. Somali security forces opened fire when Mohammed’s truck sped away.

Mohammed’s death broadens Al Qaeda's power vacuum following bin Laden's death, and will likely disrupt Al Qaeda’s operations in East Africa. Al Qaeda has made no official announcement of a replacement to bin Laden, although unconfirmed reports suggested Egyptian militant Saif al-Adel had taken a temporary leadership position.

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