The Kenya Defense Forces have failed to confirm the death of deadly Kenyan-born Al-Shabaab terrorist Ahmad Iman Ali, who is believed to have been killed on Friday following an airstrike in Juba, reports the Nation.
Apparently, it's the fifth time media is reporting alleged death of Ali, a former engineering student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, who is linked to various radicalization schemes in East and Southern Africa.
RTN Somali TV on Tuesday confirmed the death of Ali, adding that he was killed along with 40 others in an operation carried last Friday at Juba region. The Al-Shabaab militants are also yet to confirm the reports.
"An airstrike may have killed Kenyan born terrorists and group top commander, Ahmad Iman Ali and over 40 other members of the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia, Harakat Shabaab Mujahideen," the TV station said.
Despite the positive reports, KDF communication department refused to comment on the matter with Col Paul Njuguna saying on Tuesday that he was a 'bit held up'.
KDF Spokesman Bogita Ongeri also declined to confirm whether Mr Iman Ali was killed in the strike by Kenyan troops or through ally forces. Information on such operations are highly guarded but intelligence forces insist that he was indeed killed.
Ali, who was declared a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) by the US in March 2018, took over the leadership of the group in 2012, and is perceived to have been behind the establishment of various terrorist cells in Kenya, leading to radicalisation of youth.
When he was declared an international terrorist, the US said it was denying him the resources they need to plan and carry out terrorist attacks.
“Among the consequences, all of their property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them,” the statement from the government read.
The brief said that Ali, also known as Abu Zinira, had targeted Kenyan troops serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), such as the January 2016 attack in El Adde.
“Ali is also responsible for Al-Shabaab propaganda targeting the Kenyan government and civilians, such as a July 2017 video in which he issues threats to Muslims serving in Kenya’s security forces. Ali has also served as an Al-Shabaab recruiter, focusing on poor youth in Nairobi slums, and has fundraised at mosques to support Al-Shabaab activities,” the statement indicated.