Zenawi: no confirmed Somalia al Qaeda dead-FT

February 5th, 2007 Print Print Email Email

LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - There has been no confirmation so far of any targeted al Qaeda suspects being killed in Somalia, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told the Financial Times in an interview published on Monday.Ethiopia is working closely with the United States to identify Islamist fighters killed in neighbouring Somalia in recent clashes, including U.S. air strikes, Meles said.

“We do not have definite information on a number of the key al Qaeda targets. There are reports that one or two of them might have died but we have no confirmation,” he told the FT.

Bloodied papers belonging to Aden Hashi Farah Ayro, head of an Islamist militia, had been found, but reported sightings of him suggest he may have survived, Meles was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

In addition, hardline Islamist leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys and Sheikh Hassan Turki are “alive and moving in and out of Kenya on the border,” he added.

Ethiopian troops and Somali interim government forces launched an offensive in late December that routed the Somali Islamists who had controlled most of south Somalia since June.

On Jan 24, U.S. officials said the United States had carried out a second air strike in Somalia.

Two weeks earlier an AC-130 plane killed what Washington said were eight al Qaeda-affiliated fighters hiding among Islamist remnants pushed to Somalia’s southern tip by Ethiopian and Somali government forces.

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