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The attack that killed 69 people in a Kenyan shopping mall over the weekend was the first regional operation undertaken by the new leadership of Somalia’s al-Shabab militants following a bloody power struggle.

After months of pressure from African troops against the al-Qaida-linked group inside Somalia, Ahmed Godane, also known as Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed, 34, seized control of the militants in a June fight that led to the death of several leaders. He’s pushed the movement to be more flexible, according to analysts such as Cedric Barnes, the regional director at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. The U.S. in June offered a $7 million reward for information on his whereabouts.

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