WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) -- A U.S. drone strike Thursday in Somalia killed Adan Garar, an al-Shabaab militant suspected of planning a deadly attack on the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013, the Department of Defense confirmed Wednesday.
The drone struck a vehicle carrying Garar near the town of Diinsoor, Somalia, early Thursday.
Early reports of the drone strike last week indicated at least two other people were riding in the vehicle and were also killed.
"Garar was a key operative responsible for coordinating al-Shabaab's external operations, which target U.S. persons and other Western interests in order to further al-Qaida's goals and objectives," a statement from the Pentagon said. "He posed a major threat to the region and the international community and was connected to the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. His death has dealt another significant blow to the al-Shabaab terrorist organization in Somalia."
Garaar was accused of being a ringleader in the attack on Westgate Mall in Nairobi in September 2013. Al-Shabaab, an affiliate of al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the attack on the high-end shopping center.
Men armed with AK-47s raided the mall and set off grenades, killing at least 67 people and injuring hundreds in a siege that lasted four days. The mall eventually collapsed due to a fire set inside the structure.