05/09/2014 17:47 BST | Updated 05/09/2014 17:59 BST

Death Of Al-Shabab Leader Ahmed Abdi Godane By US Airstrike Hailed By Foreign Office

Britain has hailed the death of al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane - said to have masterminded last year's Kenyan shopping mall massacre.

The US has announced that the terror chief was killed in a drone airstrike in Somalia on September 1. With close links to al Qaida, al-Shabab has carried out attacks throughout the Horn of Africa, and is heavily involved in piracy.

Its most high-profile atrocity was at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi last year, where gunmen killed more than 60 people over four days, including four Britons. Godane has also been blamed for the murder of British schoolteachers Richard and Enid Eyeington, who were shot dead in Somaliland in 2003.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of Somali terror group, al-Shabab, was killed in an airstrike on Monday. His death means there is more of an opportunity to build enduring peace and stability in Somalia and to work with the people of the region who want nothing more than an end to fighting and bloodshed."

Experts have suggested there is no obvious successor to Godane as al-Shabab leader, raising the prospect that the group's capabilities could be seriously reduced.