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U.S. airstrike kills terrorist leader who planned Kenya attack that caused Tucson man's death

A "precision airstrike" this week killed the Al-Shabaab leader who planned an a January attack on a U.S. training base in which three Americans died, including Dustin Harrison of Tucson, officials said.

Harrison, 46, was identified by his family as one of those who died in a January 5 attack on the base at Manda Bay in Kenya.

Harrison, a pilot and private military contractor, was killed along with another private military contractor, Bruce Triplett, 64, and Army Spc. Henry Mayfield Jr., 23, in the fighting at a military airfield used by U.S. counterterrorism troops on the coast of the East African nation.

Harrison is survived by his wife, Hope, and two-year-old daughter, Heaven.

U.S. forces have carried out almost daily airstrikes against Al-Shabaab targets in neighboring Somalia, including an attack at Saakow, Somalia, 320 kilometers west of Mogadishu, on Saturday. Earlier, officials had said that "initial assessments conclude two terrorists were killed, one terrorist was wounded, and an al-Shabaab compound was reduced." The operations have been carried out "in coordination with the government of Somalia," the military said.

U.S. Africa Command officials said Tuesday that "post-strike assessments confirm the two terrorists killed in the Feb. 22 precision airstrikes were an individual associated with the attack on Manda Bay and his wife, who was also a known al-Shabaab member."

The identities of those who were killed in Somalia were not released.

"Since January 5, U.S. Africa Command and our partners have pursued those responsible for the attack on U.S. and Kenyan forces at Manda Bay," said U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command. "This strike demonstrates that we will continue to relentlessly pursue those responsible for Manda Bay and those wishing to do harm to Americans and our African partners."

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The military did not disclose what weapons were used in the recent airstrikes.

There are some 5,000-7,000 militants associated with the Islamist group Al-Shabaab in Somalia. About 800 U.S. troops are conducting counter-terrorism operations in that country. About 6,000 Defense Department personnel are deployed throughout Africa.

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Dustin Harrison, via Facebook.