MOGADISHU, Somalia — A commander of Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels, al-Shabab, confirmed Saturday that the leader of the terror group was killed in a U.S. airstrike.

Abu Mohammed said the militants were meeting at an undisclosed location to pick the successor to Ahmed Abdi Godane.

A senior Somali intelligence officer, who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, said Zakariya Ismael who has a $3 million bounty on his head, is one of the candidates to succeed Godane.

Godane and other al-Shabab officials were killed by a U.S. airstrike Monday that hit the car in which he was traveling. The attack took place 105 miles south of Mogadishu, where al-Shabab trains its fighters.

President Barack Obama confirmed Friday that Godane was killed by the U.S. airstrike.

Godane was also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr and was the spiritual leader of the al-Qaida-linked group. The U.S. had offered a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to his arrest. Godane had publicly claimed al-Shabab was responsible for the deadly Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya that left 67 people dead one year ago.

Somalia’s government said Friday night that it has credible intelligence al-Shabab is planning attacks following the death of their leader.

In a televised speech, Gen. Khalif Ahmed Ereg, Somalia’s national security minister, said possible targets include medical and educational institutions. Ereg said the government is vigilant and its armed forces are prepared to prevent such attacks.

The killing of Godane was a “delightful victory,” said Ereg. He called on militants still fighting for the al-Qaida-linked group to surrender to get a “brighter” life from the government.

The implications for al-Shabab following Godane’s death are unclear. Some analysts predict a power struggle for the leadership that could splinter the group.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta Saturday thanked the U.S. for killing Godane saying his death provides “a small measure of closure” for victims of the Westgate Mall attack. Kenyatta’s nephew and his fiance died in that attack, a year ago this month.

Godane, who used a number of other aliases, led the planning and was responsible for the perpetration of the attack on Westgate, Kenyatta said.

“We owe the United States, and its soldiers, our heartfelt thanks for bringing an end to Godane’s career of death and destruction; and finally allowing us to begin our healing,” he said.

“His death is a stark reminder that those who live by the sword shall perish by the sword,” Kenyatta said.

Al-Shabab has vowed to revenge the presence of Kenyan troops in Somalia. Kenyan troops went into Somalia in Oct 2011 to fight al-Shabab, which is blamed for cross-border attacks and kidnappings of westerners on Kenyan soil.

Kenya later became part of the African Union force that is bolstering Somalia’s weak U.N.-backed government against al-Shabab’s insurgency.

The U.S. State Department declared al-Shabab a terrorist organization in February 2008.

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