A U.S. air strike in Somalia on Monday was successful in taking out the leader of the terrorist group al-Shabab, Pentagon officials confirmed. 

We have confirmed that Ahmed Godane, the co-founder of al-Shabab, has been killed,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement on Friday.

U.S. intelligence pointed to a facility south of Mogadishu, where Godane — the mastermind of the deadly attacks on a shopping mall in Kenya last fall — was believed to be located. In coordination with the Somali military, the U.S. military deployed both manned and unmanned aircraft, firing several Hellfire and precision-guided missiles on the target. There were no U.S. troops on the ground, Kirby said.

“Removing Godane from the battlefield is a major symbolic and operational loss to al-Shabab,” he said.

At a press conference in Wales on Friday, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will go after terrorists, including the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, in a “very systematic and methodical” way.

[READ MORE: US Strike Against Al-Shabab Leader Reflects Obama’s Counterterrorism Strategy]

“As I said, it’s not going to happen overnight, but we are steadily moving in the right direction. And we are going to achieve our goal. We are going to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL the same way that we have gone after al-Qaeda, the same way that we have gone after the al-Qaeda-affiliated Somalia, where we released today the fact that we have killed the leader of al-Shabab in Somalia and have consistently worked to degrade their operations,” Obama said.

“We have been very systematic and methodical in going after these kinds of organizations that may threaten U.S. personnel and the homeland, and that deliberation allows us to do it right. But have no doubt. We will continue and I will continue to do what is necessary to protect the American people,” he said. 

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