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Bilal al-Barjawi, Al-Qaeda Leader, Dead
Shabaab Statement Affirms Death by US Drone Strike
By MOHAMED ODOWA 01/21/2012
Al-Shabaab's HSM Press Logo
A senior al-Qaeda operative in Somalia was killed near Mogadishu on Saturday by a drone attack carried out by the US in Elasha Biyaha, 15km south of Mogadishu. This follows the latest military offensives in Mogadishu by the African Union peacekeeping forces and the Somali government forces.

Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for al-Shabaab, confirmed to Somalia Report on Saturday evening that one of their foreign fighters, Sheikh Bilal Al-Barjawi, a Lebanon-born British national was dead.

"At around 1400 (1100 GMT), a US drone targeted our mujahideen. One foreigner, a Lebanese with a British passport, died. He was a brave Mujaahideen in the al-Shabaab officials and he came here in Somalia for the sake of Allah to defend the holy religion of Islam. Today was his last day as he was dead in sacred fate after he was targeted by the enemies who are fighting with us around southwest Mogadishu,” Ali Dhere told Somalia Report.

The US does not officially comment on drone strikes, so it is not possible to get confirmation at this time, but the Twitter feed which claims to speak on behalf of al-Shabaab in Somalia affirmed his death, saying "Brother Bilal Al-Barjawi, a native of Lebanon also known as Abu Hafsa, attained Martyrdom as a result of the strikes as Allah had ordained."

Bilal was born in Lebanon and raised in England, where he worked as a refrigeration and air conditioning technician, before he came to Somalia in 2006 to fight with al-Shabaab. He was known to have been injured in airstrikes in July 2011 and was suspected to have sought medical assistance in Nairobi at that time.