Headline at the London Times: “murderous Islamic leader will not be missed”, even when he was “a youth”:
As head of al-Shabaab – “the youth” – he is implicated in the murders of 16 foreigners including the BBC journalist Kate Peyton.
But it was during the reign of the Islamic Courts Union that he came to prominence. His few hundred fighters were credited with providing the courts with their military muscle as they took over much of central and southern Somalia the year before last.
Since their defeat in December 2006, at the hands of Ethiopia’s military machine, Ayro has gradually moved away from his former allies in the courts and waged his own Jihadist war against Somalia’s feeble government.
His tactics echoed those pioneered by Iraqi insurgents. His fighters posted videos on the internet warning peacekeepers they would be targeted and claimed responsibility for suicide attacks. Roadside bombs became a daily occurrence in the capital Mogadishu.
Taking out Ayro, who analysts believe trained in Afghanistan with al Qaeda, has been a key objective of US military policy in the Horn.
He was the target of an airstrike last year when US military officials say DNA evidence showed he was wounded. Then, in March, al Shabaab was designated a terrorist organisation by the State Department.
Or, as Ace would put it, Somali Al-Qaeda Leader Succumbs to Chronic Endocrine Fatigue, GBU-15, but Mostly the GBU-15