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Al Shabab Terror Group Picks New Leader, Vows Retaliation After Strike

The Somali-based terror group whose head was killed by a U.S. airstrike this week has chosen a new leader and vowed retaliatory attacks in Mogadishu that include assassinations and suicide bombings.

Al Shabab, the same group that carried out the deadly attack on a Kenya mall last year, said the radical Islamist militant group has chosen Abu Ubeyda Ahmed Omar to replace Ahmed Abdi Godane. The reclusive leader was killed when U.S. drones launched Hellfire missiles at a truck in a remote area of southern Somalia on Monday, the group said in a statement on one of its websites. An al Shabab source told NBC News that “we plan to undertake a major assault in Mogadishu by carrying out targeted assassinations, bombings and suicide attacks. We will also be firing many mortars.”

The Pentagon confirmed Friday that Godane was killed in the strike. Ten other militants were also killed in the attack, including the group’s operations leader, a financial official and a military strategist, a U.S. security official told NBC News. The siege last September at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi left 67 people dead. Godane took leadership of al Shabab after his predecessor was killed in an American airstrike in 2008.

US launches airstrikes against rebels in Somalia 1:35

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— Charlene Gubash