An American airstrike has killed the No. 2 leader of ISIS-Somalia, Air Force Times reported Monday.
The U.S. Africa Command announced Abdulhakim Dhuqub was killed Sunday in northeastern Somalia. A second man with Dhuqub was killed but has not been identified, Voice of America reported.
ISIS-Somalia is led by Sheikh Abdulkadir Mumin, a former scholar for al-Shabab. In October 2015 he defected from the group and pledged his allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, VOA reported.
Dhoqob was Mumin's right-hand-man and has appeared in videos produced by the group; Mumin himself survived another airstrike in his mountainous hideout in Bari region in November 2017.
"Killing one of their top leaders will speed up their eradication," regional minister Abdisamad Mohamed Gallan told VOA.
ISIS-Somalia is a splinter group of al-Shabab, a group aligned with al-Qaida and also active in Somalia.
According to Air Force Times, the United States has conducted airstrikes to kill militants in Somalia since 2007, but the number of strikes per year was never more than three. Beginning in 2016, airstrikes in Somalia spiked to 15. In 2018, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Long War Journal cataloged 47 strikes in-country.