Members of the hardline al Shabaab Islamist rebel group
Al-Shabaab have lost several key figures recently Reuters

US fighter jets have carried out an air strike in Somalia, successfully hitting a senior leader of the terror group al-Shabaab.

The news was confirmed by the Pentagon with military spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby revealing that the target had been hit in Saakow, a small town in southern Somalia.

The identity of the al-Shabaab target and the number of casualties have yet to be revealed.

In a statement, Kirby said: "At this time, we do not assess there to be any civilian or bystander casualties.

"We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information, when appropriate, as details become available."

Despite their strong numbers, al-Shabaab's senior leadership has been damaged in recent months.

Three months ago, al-Shabaab's leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed in a US air strike.

Under Godane's leadership, the Islamist group, also known as Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin, pledged their allegiance to al-Qaeda.

Godane was succeeded by Ahmad Umar, also known as Abu Ubaidah, in September 2014.

One of the most wanted members of the Somali terror group also recently "gave himself up" after his house was raided near the Kenyan border.

Zakariya Ahmed Ismail Hersi was a key part of the Islamist organisation's intelligence wing and once had a $3m (£1.93m) bounty for his capture through the US State Department's Rewards for Justice program.

The news was confirmed by an anonymous Somali intelligence official although al-Shabaab have yet to give an official statement confirming Hersi's surrender.

Despite losing Godane and Hersi, al-Shabaab remain a dangerous terror group.

The militants recently launched a deadly raid on a African Union base in Mogadishu on Christmas Day.

The attack killed nine people, including three African Union soldiers, who were celebrating Christmas.