Bloomberg News

Lebanese-British Al-Qaeda Leader Killed in Somalia Airstrike

January 23, 2012

(Updates with State Department declines to comment in fifth paragraph.)

Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Bilaal Al-Berjawi, an al-Qaeda leader born in Lebanon and raised in the U.K., was killed by a drone strike in Mogadishu’s outskirts today, a militant Islamic group’s spokesman said.

“He was in a pickup truck at Al-Hayat Hospital in Mogadishu’s outskirts,” Al-Shabaab’s Ali Raji told reporters in a teleconference. Al-Berjawi was 20 to 30 years old and had been in the capital Mogadishu since 2006, he said.

Residents said they heard loud explosions and then saw black smoke rising around the hospital in an area of Mogadishu under control of Al-Shabaab.

“I heard very big explosions,” Suldaan Bakeeri, a resident at the hospital, said in a telephone interview. “The ground vibrated, and I believed that a heavy missile rocketed in my home, but fortunately I was safe.”

Joanne Moore, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, declined to comment.

--With Assistance from William Selway in Washington. Editors: Christian Thompson, Ann Hughey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hamsa Omar in Mogadishu at ohamsa@bloomberg.net or contact the editor responsible for this story: C. Thompson at cthompson1@bloomberg.net or


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