The mastermind of the terrorist attack that killed 67 people at the Westgate Mall in Naibrobi, Kenya, in 2013, has died after a U.S. military drone strike in Somalia, the Defense Department said Wednesday.
Adan Garar was described as a member of the security wing of al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-aligned group that is seeking to topple the Western-backed government of Somalia and impose its strict version of Islamic law.
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U.S. military officials told NBC News that Garar was one of several people in a vehicle struck by as many as three Hellfire missiles last Thursday. He apparently survived the attack with severe burns, but he was paralyzed from the waist down and later died.
The Pentagon said the attack took place in Somalia's southern Bay region.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the September 2013 siege of the luxury Westgate Mall in Nairobi, which left at least 67 people dead and about 200 others injured. It said at it sent militants with AK-47s and grenades into the mall in "retribution" for Kenya's efforts to help the Somali government defeat the extremist group.
The Pentagon said in early September that al-Shabab's top leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed in a U.S. military strike a few days previously. Another al-Shabab leader, identified only as Abdishakur, was killed in a drone strike in December, Somalia has said.