MOGADISHU, Somalia (CNN) -- A top al Qaeda operative in East Africa, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, was killed at a Somali checkpoint in Mogadishu, a senior official in neighboring Kenya said Saturday.
Mohammed, a citizen of both Kenya and Comoros, was long sought in Somalia for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
"There's reason to believe this senior terrorist is dead," a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak on the record said Saturday. "He was killed, it appears, at a Somali police checkpoint in or around Mogadishu."
Meanwhile, the commander of Somalia's government forces confirmed that two men driving through a checkpoint southwest of Mogadishu late Wednesday were killed when both opened fire on soldiers there.
One of the men was a foreigner and his identity is under investigation, Gen. Abdikarin Dhega Badans said.
The United States considers Mohammed a senior al Qaeda operative in East Africa, accusing him of being an architect of the embassy bombings that killed 225 people.
American officials also believe Mohammed was involved in attacks on an Israeli-owned hotel and airliner in Kenya in 2002, and have offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his apprehension or conviction.
In the past, Mohammed has managed to escape capture several times. He dodged a 2008 police raid in the Kenyan coastal town of Malindi. And in early 2007, a U.S.-led airstrike in Somalia failed to kill him. In 2003, Kenyan police also said he escaped authorities.
In December 2007, the U.N. Security Council amended a list of 25 al Qaeda suspects subject to sanctions, including Mohammed. The description of Mohammed offered numerous aliases and said he had "reportedly undergone plastic surgery."
The FBI description says Mohammed was born in the Comoros Islands, and has used birth dates indicating he was born in either 1972 or 1974.