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A Somali intelligence official says a U.S. drone strike has killed a senior officer with the al-Shabab extremist group.

The official says the unidentified officer had maintained links with foreign extremist groups with the aim of coordinating future attacks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Residents said the officer’s vehicle was struck Tuesday outside the al-Shabab-held town of Kunya Barow in southern Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region.

The U.S. military in a statement confirms the strike and says the al-Shabab member had direct ties to al-Qaida. The U.S. says the strike was carried out in coordination with Somalia’s government.

A United Nations expert report released this month says al-Shabab remains a potent regional threat and now makes its own explosives.

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