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U.S. missile strike targets suspected militant leader in Somalia

The U.S. military carried out a missile strike in Somalia on Sunday, targeting a suspected militant leader with links to the al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab terror groups, U.S. military officials told NBC News.

U.S. military and intelligence officials are reviewing bomb damage assessment to determine if the terror leader was killed or wounded in the strike.

The officials would not yet identify the target of the strike.

The al-Shabaab group — which the State Department designates as a terrorist organization — is a loosely affiliated band of militia insurgents in southern Somalia that has close ties to the al-Qaeda terror network.

At least two senior al-Shabaab rebels, including the group’s leading explosives expert, were killed in a military strike last October.

And earlier that month, U.S. Navy SEALs stormed a coastal Somali town to take down a Kenyan-born fighter with al-Shabaab known as “Ikrima.” But members of the elite SEAL Team Six — the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden in his Pakistani hideout in 2011 — aborted the mission to capture the terror suspect whose real name is Abdikadar Mohamed Abdikadar.

Abdikadar was identified in a Kenyan government intelligence document as the mastermind behind a number of planned attacks, including a plot to strike Kenya's parliament building and the United Nations office in Nairobi, as well as an Ethiopian restaurant patronized by Somali government officials, the Associated Press reported last year.

The al-Shabaab militants shocked the world on Sept. 21, 2013, when they stormed the Westgate shopping complex in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, slaughtering at least 67 people with guns and grenades.

Daniel Arkin of NBC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.