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The Department of Defense confirmed Friday that Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of the al Qaeda-aligned Somali militant group, was killed during a U.S. airstrike on September 1. In separate statements, both White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest and the Department of Defense called the death of the al-Shabaab co-founder "a major symbolic and operational loss" to the organization, the largest al Qaeda affiliate in Africa.  

The day after the attack, Pentagon officials disclosed that they'd bombed a remote area of Somalia where al-Shabaab officials were believed to be meeting. Officials received reports that Godane was among the dead. The next day an al-Shabaab spokesmen told The Wall Street Journal that Godane was injured during the bombing, but couldn't confirm his death. "The first news I got was that the emir was wounded, but I cannot say yet if he is dead or alive," the spokesman, Abu Mohamed, told The Journal

Al-Shabaab has been a U.S. designated terrorist organization since 2008. Last year the group was responsible for the terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya which killed more than 60 people. 

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