Shabaab boss probably died in Somalia strike

Nairobi - The death of the leader of Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab rebels in a US air strike is a "very strong probability" but still unconfirmed, security sources told AFP on Wednesday.

"There is a very strong probability that he is dead... this requires verification on the ground, which is not simple," said a western security source, who asked not be identified.

The comment was echoed by a senior Somali security official.

"We believe that the Shabaab leader is dead, though we don't have his body. Most probably he is dead," said the official, who also spoke on condition he not be named.

He said he believed the Shabaab were now "talking about a successor" to Ahmed Abdi Godane.

"But we are still assessing the situation," the official said.

A senior Somali security official also said Ahmed Abdi Godane was "most probably" killed in late Monday's air strike.

Contacted by AFP, Shabaab officials maintained their position of refusing to confirm or deny the reports.