Navy SEALs abort mission to capture al-Shabab leader in Somalia

Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by Singh, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Navy SEALs abort mission to capture al-Shabab leader in Somalia

    MOGADISHU, SomaliaIn a stealthy seaside assault in Somalia, U.S. special forces on Saturday struck out against Islamic extremists who have carried out terrorist attacks in East Africa, before eventually aborting the mission to capture a leading terrorist suspect linked to last month's Nairobi shopping mall attack after a fierce firefight.

    A U.S. Navy SEAL team swam ashore near a town in southern Somalia before militants of the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group al-Shabab rose for dawn prayers, U.S. and Somali officials told The Associated Press. The raid on a house in the town of Barawe targeted a specific al-Qaeda suspect related to the mall attack, but the operation did not get its target, one current and one former U.S. military official told AP.

    Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the raid publicly.


    In Washington, Pentagon spokesman George Little confirmed that U.S. military personnel had been involved in a counterterrorism operation against a known al-Shabab terrorist in Somalia, but did not provide details.

    U.S. officials said there were no U.S. casualties in the Somali operation.

    The Somali raid was carried out by members of SEAL Team Six, the same unit that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan hideout in 2011, another senior U.S. military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly.

    But this time, SEAL Team Six members encountered fiercer resistance than expected so after a 15-20 minute firefight, the unit leader decided to abort the mission and they swam away, the official said. SEAL Team Six has responsibility for counterterrorism activities in the Horn of Africa.

    Within hours of the Somalia attack, the U.S. Army's Delta Force carried out a raid in Libya's capital, Tripoli, to seize a Libyan al-Qaeda leader wanted for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed more than 220 people, the military official said. Delta Force carries out counterterrorism operations in North Africa.

    The Pentagon identified the captured al-Qaeda leader as Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known by his alias Anas al-Libi, who has been on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list since it was introduced shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

    Al-Libi "is currently lawfully detained by the U.S. military in a secure location outside of Libya," Pentagon spokesman Little said.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that the two U.S. military raids against militants in Africa sends the message that terrorists "can run but they can't hide."

    Saturday's raid in Somalia occurred 20 years after the famous "Black Hawk Down" battle in Mogadishu in which a mission to capture Somali warlords in the capital went awry after militiamen shot down two U.S. helicopters. Eighteen U.S. soldiers were killed in the battle, and it marked the beginning of the end of that U.S. military mission to bring stability to the Horn of Africa nation. Since then, U.S. military intervention has been limited to missile attacks and lightning operations by special forces.

    A resident of Barawe - a seaside town 150 miles south of Mogadishu - said by telephone that heavy gunfire woke up residents before dawn prayers.

    The U.S. forces attacked a two-story beachside house in Barawe where foreign fighters lived, battling their way inside, said an al-Shabab fighter who gave his name as Abu Mohamed and who said he had visited the scene. Al-Shabab has a formal alliance with al-Qaeda, and hundreds of men from the U.S., Britain and Middle Eastern countries fight alongside Somali members of al-Shabab.

    A separate U.S. official described the action in Barawe as a capture operation against a high-value target. The official said U.S. forces engaged al-Shabab militants and sought to avoid civilian casualties. The U.S. forces disengaged after inflicting some casualties on fighters, said the official, who was not authorized to speak by name and insisted on anonymity.

    The leader of al-Shabab, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, also known as Ahmed Godane, claimed responsibility for the attack on the upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, a four-day terrorist siege that began on Sept. 21 and killed at least 67 people. A Somali intelligence official said the al-Shabab leader was the target of Saturday's raid.

    An al-Shabab official, Sheikh Abdiaziz Abu Musab, said in an audio message that the raid failed to achieve its goals.

    Al-Shabab and al-Qaeda have flourished in Somalia for years. Some of the plotters of the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania hid out there.

    Barawe has seen Navy SEALs before. In September 2009 a daylight commando raid in Barawe killed six people, including Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, one of the most-wanted al-Qaeda operatives in the region and an alleged plotter in the 1998 embassy bombings.

    In Somalia, a resident of Barawe who gave his name as Mohamed Bile said militants closed down the town in the hours after the assault, and that all traffic and movements have been restricted. Militants were carrying out house-to-house searches, likely to find evidence that a spy had given intelligence to a foreign power used to launch the attack, he said.

    "We woke up to find al-Shabab fighters had sealed off the area and their hospital is also inaccessible," Bile told The Associated Press by phone. "The town is in a tense mood."

    Al-Shabab later posted pictures on the Internet of what it said was U.S. military gear left behind in the raid. Two former U.S. military officers identified the gear as the kind U.S. troops carry. Pictures showed items including bullets, an ammunition magazine, a military GPS device and a smoke and flash-bang grenade used to clear rooms. The officials could not confirm if those items had come from the raid.

    In Kenya, military spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir on Saturday gave the names of four fighters implicated in the Westgate Mall attack as Abu Baara al-Sudani, Omar Nabhan, Khattab al-Kene and Umayr, names that were first broadcast by a local Kenyan television station.

    Matt Bryden, the former head of the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, said via email that al-Kene and Umayr are known members of al-Hijra, the Kenyan arm of al-Shabab. He added that Nabhan may be a relative of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, the target of the 2009 Navy SEALs raid in Barawe.

    The identities of the four men from the mall attack came as a Nairobi station obtained and broadcast the closed circuit television footage from Westgate. The footage shows four attackers calmly walking through a storeroom inside the complex, holding machine guns. One of the men's pant legs appears to be stained with blood, though he is not limping. It is unclear if the blood is his, or that of his victims'.

    Government statements shortly after the four-day siege began on Sept. 21 indicated between 10 to 15 attackers were involved, but indications since then are that fewer attackers took part, though the footage may not show all of the assailants.

    Navy SEALs abort mission to capture al-Shabab leader in Somalia - CBS News
     
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  3. jmj_overlord

    jmj_overlord Regular Member

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    shame that most of somalia is under al shabab control. Why can't US and it's allies carry out an invasion like afghan and iraq rather than relying on un peacekeepers ?
     
  4. Abhijeet Dey

    Abhijeet Dey Regular Member

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    If US had invaded Somalia the Russians and Chinese governments (like Syrian Crisis) would have said that it should be under the UN mandate. After that the whole world would have condemned this invasion. Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had condemned the planned US intervention in Syria because it was not under the UN mandate.

    Right now US and its allies need support from the world community and also authorization from the United Nations. Iraq war became so unpopular with the american public that American government decided that they will not get involved in Libyan Civil War.
     
  5. jmj_overlord

    jmj_overlord Regular Member

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    you are right, but the situation is different in somalia. It is total chaos there and also there is the piracy. Something ought to be done about the country plagued with disease, starvation and crime. For how long will the world ignore such a situation
     
  6. datguy79

    datguy79 Regular Member

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    For as long as it takes the west to dump their toxins in Somali waters and overfish them till there is nothing left.
     
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  7. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    It's always somebody else's fault with you people. No wonder you're in a rot.
     
  8. drkrn

    drkrn Senior Member Senior Member

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    any comment on his accusations
     
  9. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    U.S. Official: Raid's Target was Al-Shabaab Foreign Fighter Commander
    By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
    October 7, 2013

    [​IMG]

    Washington (CNN) -- A pre-dawn raid by elite U.S. forces in southern Somalia, in the heart of territory controlled by the al Qaeda subsidiary Al-Shabaab, targeted an Al-Shabaab commander connected to one of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, a senior Obama administration official said Sunday.

    The suspected foreign fighter commander is named Ikrima, a Kenyan of Somali origin about whom little is known. The official said Ikrima is associated with two now-deceased al Qaeda operatives who played roles in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, and the 2002 attacks on a hotel and airline in Mombasa, also in Kenya.

    U.S. Navy SEAL members traveled by sea to reach the coastal villa frequented by top Al-Shabaab commanders, storming the house early Saturday. Until Sunday, no U.S. official disclosed the target of the raid.

    The SEALs' mission didn't go as planned, however. The U.S. commandos encountered heavy fire and had to withdraw, not knowing whether their target was dead or alive.

    Al-Shabaab is the U.S.-designated terrorist group that claimed responsibility for last month's siege on a Kenyan shopping mall that killed 67 people.

    Residents of the port city of Barawe said the home belonged to Al-Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubayr, also known as Ahmed Abdi Godane. An Al-Shabaab spokesman had said Godane was the target of the attack.

    The group said one of its fighters was killed in the attack. No SEAL members were killed or hurt, a U.S. official said.

    It was one of two raids carried out by elite U.S. forces in Africa on Saturday against targets connected to the 1998 embassy bombing in Nairobi. The other was an operation in Tripoli, Libya, by the U.S. Army Delta Force against Abu Anas al Libi, indicted in the United States for helping to plan the Nairobi embassy attack.

    Delta Force members captured al Libi, who will eventually be taken to New York to face federal charges.

    In the 2002 attacks, three suicide bombers detonated a car bomb outside the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Mombasa, killing the bombers as well as 12 Kenyans and three Israelis. The same morning, a missile attack unsuccessfully targeted an Israeli airliner taking off from Mombasa's airport.

    Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for both Mombasa attacks.

    Witness accounts

    Residents of the port city of Barawe said about a dozen "foreign forces" went from a nearby warship to a smaller, faster boat before jumping onto the Somali mainland. Before long, the sounds of heavy gunfire and several large explosions echoed across the city, locals said.

    After coming under fire, the U.S. forces -- members of the Navy special forces unit known as SEAL Team Six, the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 -- made a "prudent decision" to pull back, a senior U.S. official said.

    Barawe "is a main center, if not the center" for Al-Shabaab, said Matt Bryden, the former head of the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea.

    "It's a big source of revenue for them. It allows for trade," said Bryden, now the director of a Kenya-based think tank, Sahan Research. They "fully control the town" and hold large exercises on the beach, including target practice and even sack races.

    Once a tourist destination, the city is now an important port for charcoal, a common fuel in Somalia, Bryden said. That makes it a revenue source for the jihadists, with the charcoal trade bringing in as much as $25 million a year to Al-Shabaab, the United Nations estimated in July.

    Al-Shabaab's growing menace

    Al-Shabaab, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, has a relationship with al Qaeda that goes back several years. Last year, the two groups effectively merged, said CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen.

    Al-Shabaab hopes to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state but has launched attacks in other countries as well.

    In 2010, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings carried out in Kampala, Uganda, amid crowds of soccer fans watching televised screenings of the World Cup final. The bombings left 74 people dead.

    The group said at the time the attacks were retaliation for Ugandan participation in the African Union Mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM. One AMISOM goal is to support Somali government forces in cracking down on Al-Shabaab.

    Al-Shabaab has also mounted many smaller attacks against targets in Kenya, hurling hand grenades into nightclubs, restaurants and schools. The group has also kidnapped tourists and aid workers.

    Its attack on the Westgate mall in Kenya on September 21 killed at least 67 people.

    Al-Shabaab said the attack was retaliation for Kenya's involvement in the African Union effort against the group.

    In recent months, Al-Shabaab's haven in south-central Somalia has been been increasingly squeezed as Kenyan forces fight the group from the south and African Union forces come down from Mogadishu, the Somali capital.



    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/05/world/africa/somalia-us-shabaab-raid/index.html?hpt=hp_t1
     
  10. datguy79

    datguy79 Regular Member

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    I was just commenting that there are no philanthropic endevours in international affairs, just national interests.
     
  11. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Welcome to the real World then. "Philanthropy" is a much abused term, and frankly is not good for your manliness.
     
  12. dealwithit

    dealwithit Regular Member

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    There is nothing in Somalia that US can gain.. Nor KSA is pushing it....

    Until unless there is something gainful.. US wont enter..
     
  13. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    Lol SEALs commando under estimated terrorist group and over estimated themselves.

    How unprofessional conduct of them. Ofcourse launching more then one operation at a time is not easy. NSG did it at the time of mumbai attack. They had home turf and all the time in the world. Still sole superpower having hard time in kenya.

    This is also wake upcall for all of us that terrorists have become so powerful.
     
  14. LordOfTheUnderworlds

    LordOfTheUnderworlds Regular Member

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    Is al-shabab also CIA product like Taliban?
     
  15. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    i think this raid would further strengthen Turkey position within Somalia. Al Shabab is armed and funded by Eritrea which is a Christian country close ally of Russia .

    Eritrea ‘continues support’ to Somalia’s Al-Shabab, says Ethiopia - Sudan Tribune: Plural news and views on Sudan

    Ethiopia and UN accuse Eritrea of backing Al Shabaab | News & Analysis
     
  16. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    basically these are war lords , trained, armed and funded by Eritrea .
     
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  17. jmj_overlord

    jmj_overlord Regular Member

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    eritrea ? i thought al shabab being a islamic radical group would be funded and armed by saudis or iranians etc through AQ........
     
  18. debasree

    debasree Regular Member

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    pr disaster for us ..i think....
     
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  19. I-G

    I-G Tihar Jail Banned

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    These are all proxy wars in which religion has been hijacked by certain elements . Earlier Communists war lords have turned into religious guys .

    Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan are suffering since decades because of their strategic locations because the international powers doesn't want them to control the shipping and land route .
     
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  20. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Official: Navy SEAL Team Pulled out When it Couldn't Capture Suspect Alive
    From Barbara Starr and Holly Yan,
    CNN October 8, 2013

    CNN) -- U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six pulled out during a raid in Somalia to capture suspected Al-Shabaab leader Ikrima when it became clear that he couldn't be taken alive, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

    "Their mission was to capture him. Once it became clear we were not going to (be) able to take him, the Navy commander made the decision to withdraw," said the official, who has direct knowledge of the entire Somalia operation but declined to be identified publicly.

    The official said the SEALs faced heavy opposition and an intense firefight broke out, leading to the withdrawal.

    The mission's aim -- to capture Ikrima -- is the reason the team went in rather than using a drone to attack the heavily guarded seaside villa, the official said.

    Another U.S. official told CNN the Navy SEALs reported seeing children at the compound, part of the reason the mission was stopped during the firefight.

    Amid questions about the aborted mission, the Pentagon is disputing the suggestion that Al-Shabaab drove out the SEALs.

    "That's not how it happened," Pentagon spokesman George Little insisted to CNN. "There was a firefight, absolutely, and they took every step to avoid civilian casualties in this case, and that's what our military personnel do. They weigh these kinds of decisions and they made a prudent decision on the ground to depart. It was their decision."

    Little said earlier that the United States will continue to work with Somalia's government to confront Al-Shabaab.

    "While the operation did not result in Ikrima's capture, U.S. military personnel conducted the operation with unparalleled precision and demonstrated that the United States can put direct pressure on Al-Shabaab leadership at any time of our choosing," he said.

    Somalia welcomed the U.S. raid, Somali Deputy Prime Minister Fawzia Yusuf Adam told CNN's Christiane Amanpour Monday.

    "We are welcoming more if this will help us ... get rid of al Qaeda and Al-Shabaab," said Adam, who is also the country's foreign minister.

    It was one of two U.S. military operations in Africa over the weekend targeting what officials called high-value terrorism suspects.

    In the other raid, members of the elite U.S. Army Delta Force captured Abu Anas al Libi, an al Qaeda operative wanted for his alleged role in the deadly 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

    Next stop, New York?

    The special forces took al Libi to a U.S. Navy warship after his capture, a U.S. official said.

    The Pentagon said the U.S. military was holding al Libi in a "secure location" outside Libya. There, a team of officials from the FBI, the CIA and other intelligence agencies are grilling him for intelligence on al Qaeda.

    His next stop could be the United States, where authorities have long wanted al Libi to stand trial in an American court for his alleged role in the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania that left over 200 dead and thousands wounded.

    The Libyan interim government called the U.S. capture a kidnapping and wants an explanation from Washington, the country's state news agency reported Sunday. There's no extradition treaty between Libya and the United States.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry disputes that. He described al Libi as a key al Qaeda figure who is a "legal and an appropriate target."

    Kerry said Monday that al Libi "will now have an opportunity to defend himself and to be appropriately brought to justice in a court of law."

    A federal grand jury in New York has already indicted al Libi for the embassy attacks.

    State Department rules out Guantanamo

    But trying terrorism suspects on American soil has been a controversial topic in the past.

    In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder said five Guantanamo Bay detainees with alleged ties to the 9/11 attacks would be transferred to New York for trial in civilian court. Later Holder reversed course, announcing that accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others would be tried in a military commission at Guantanamo instead.

    Could al Libi face a similar fate?

    State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday that there's no chance he could end up at Guantanamo.

    "The administration's position on Guantanamo is clear. Our goal is not to add to the population, it's to reduce it, which we've done. ... Our policy is not to send any new detainees to Guantanamo," she said.

    Concern grows over terrorism in region

    The weekend attacks come as concern over terrorism in the region is on the rise after last month's deadly shopping mall attack in Kenya's capital.

    Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, which left at least 67 people dead.

    A U.S. official said Monday that the U.S. government is concerned about the al Qaeda-linked militant group's growing focus on external operations -- including the possibility of striking U.S. interests in the region.

    The Somalia operation was planned before the mall attack, the official said.

    Another source underlined that the raid was not in response to the mall attack, adding that the United States has been going after Al-Shabaab for some time, with SEALs and with drones.


    Navy SEAL team pulled out when it couldn't capture suspect alive - CNN.com
     
  21. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    Looks like they are making excuses for failed operation. Now terrorists will fight with extra determination against any surprise attack.
     

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