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Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the man wanted by the United States for masterminding deadly blasts on embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, is believed to have been killed in Somalia, Somali and Kenyan officials said Saturday.
Somali government sources told Somalia Report he was killed Wednesday at a roadblock near Mogadishu, along with a senior leader of militant Islamist group al-Shabaab.
Kenya’s Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere on Saturday said that Kenyan authorities had been informed of the death of Fazul and one other, and were trying to confirm the report.
“Fazul was killed in Mogadishu and we are planning to conduct a DNA test,” he said.
Reports of Fazul's death have previously been exaggerated, thus prompting the plans to definitively verify that the body is that of the wanted terrorist. Fazul was briefly thought to have been killed in US airstrikes in Somalia in 2007, only for the reports to turn out to be wrong.
Fazul, born in the Comoros Islands, was believed to be al-Qaeda’s top operative in East Africa, and was on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorist list for his role in the 1998 bombings.
More than 200 people died in the twin blasts at US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, attacks which announced the arrival of al-Qaeda on the world stage. Fazul was also suspected of being involved in the bombing of an Israel-owned hotel in the Kenyan coastal town of Mombasa in 2002, which killed 15, and a simultaneous attempt to shoot down a passenger jet carrying Israeli tourists leaving the popular tourist resort.
The US Department of State were offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading directly to Fazul's arrest.