Like many a high-profile jihadi, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed has been “dead” and un-”dead” before. There has also been some dispute about the fate of Ilyas Kashmiri, who was also reported dead in recent weeks.
Assuming this was indeed “Mr. Mohammed,” as the BBC calls him, he appears simply to have turned up at the right place at the right time (well, not for him) in Somalia. As always, removing one figurehead only does so much in an ideological war, but one can always hope for some disruption of operations and a modest windfall of useful intel. Among other things, Mohammed was reportedly carrying a forged South African passport.
“Fazul Abdullah Mohammed: Death is ‘blow’ for al-Qaeda,” from BBC News, June 11 (thanks to all who sent this in):
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the death of top African al-Qaeda militant Fazul Abdullah Mohammed is a “significant blow” to the group.
He and another militant were killed earlier this week in a shootout with police at a checkpoint in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, officials said.
Mr Mohammed was the most wanted man in Africa, with a $5m bounty on his head.
He was suspected of having played a key role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa, which killed 224 people.
He was also accused of attacking Israeli targets on the Kenyan coast in 2002, and was recently believed to have been working with the Islamist militant group, al-Shabab, which controls much of southern Somalia.
‘Victory for the world’
Mr Mohammed was shot dead by Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces in north-western Mogadishu overnight on Tuesday, Somali security officials said.
“Our forces fired on two men who refused to stop at a roadblock. They tried to defend themselves when they were surrounded by our men,” TFG commander Abdikarim Yusuf told the AFP news agency.
“We took their ID documents, one of which was a foreign passport,” he said, adding that medicine, mobile phones and laptops were also found.
Somali sources told AFP that Mr Mohammed was carrying $40,000 in cash and a South African passport bearing the name Daniel Robinson. [...]
A senior US government official also told the BBC that it was a “very big deal” and commended the actions of the Transitional Federal Government.
“Fazul Abdullah Mohammed’s death removes one of the terrorist group’s most experienced operational planners in East Africa and has almost certainly set back operations,” the official said….