A senior Al-Shabaab leader with a 3 million U.S. dollar bounty on his head has died in the southern region of Somalia, the militant group said Thursday.

The group’s spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage said Sheikh Hassan Turki died at 73 in his bed in Hargeysa Yarey village, Lower Juba after a long sickness.

Turki, who was formerly a leader of the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia, was designated by the U.S. in 2004 for terror financing.

The death of Turki could be a blow to the militant group, which has in the last one year lost a number of senior leaders, including the former leader Ali Godane in a U.S. airstrike in September last year. The intelligence chief, Abdishakur Tahlil, was killed in a similar strike February this year.

This could also exacerbate the identity struggles within Al- Shabaab as one wing is said to favor affiliation with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, while another is keen on maintaining the traditional ties with Al-Qaida. (Cihan/Xinhua)

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