The U.S. FBI had posted a $5 million reward for Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, accused of plotting the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that killed more than 250 people.
Kenya Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere confirmed the report by Somalia's transitional federal government that Mohammed was killed Wednesday at a roadblock near Mogadishu to The Nation newspaper of Nairobi.
U.S. officials have been speaking out about Mohammed's death. "Harun Fazul's death is another huge setback to al-Qaida and its extremist allies, and provides a measure of justice to so many who lost loved ones because of the actions of this terrorist," John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism, said in a statement.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a release, called Fazul's death "a just end for a terrorist who brought so much death and pain to so many innocents in Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, and elsewhere."
Mohammed also was suspected in a 2002 car bombing of a hotel at Kikambala on the Kenya coast that killed 15 people and wounded more than 80 and an attempt to shoot down a plane carrying Israeli tourists, the Kenya Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Mohammed, a native of the Comorro Islands, was believed to be the leader of al-Qaida in Somalia.
He spoke French, Swahili, Arabic, English and Comorian and used 18 aliases, the FBI said.