Navy SEALS Conduct Predawn Raid In Somalia

5:59 PM, Oct 5, 2013   |    comments
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Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

Somalia -- A team of Navy SEALs raided an al-Shabab militant group in Somalia in a daring predawn attack, The New York Times and NBC News reported Saturday.

The raid was in response to an al-Shabab attack on a Nairobi shopping mall two weeks ago. Al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group, has claimed responsibility for the action, which killed at least 67 people.

Sources told NBC News and The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. that the raid was in pursuit of a "high-value target," but neither news outlet named the targeted person nor said whether the subject had been caught.

It is believed that the target was killed in the firefight, the Times reported a senior American official saying. However that was not confirmed before the SEALs were forced to withdraw, the official also told the paper.

The Guardian reported that a Somali official said the target was a "high-profile foreign leader in al-Shabab," possibly a Chechen.

Pentagon spokesman George Little declined to comment on the raid when reached by the Guardian.

The Times reported that the SEALs raided a seaside villa where al-Shabab members were staying, in the Somali town of Baraawe. The firefight lasted more than an hour. Somali officials told the newspaper that the government had been informed of the raid.

One al-Shabab spokesman told the Guardian that the raid had involved special forces from the United Kingdom and Turkey, but British officials denied the claim.

An al-Shabab spokesman told the paper that one fighter had been killed in the attack but that the American assault had been beaten back. The condition of the SEAL team is unknown.

U.S. officials have been concerned that al-Shabab might attempt attacks in the United States and have sought to weaken the group.

WASHINGTON  - A U.S. military official tells The Associated Press that Navy SEALs have raided a Somali coastal town looking for a specific al-Qaida suspect in connection with the Nairobi shopping mall attack, but did not get their target.

 A former U.S. military official also confirms the raid by the SEALs, but no other details have been provided.

Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the raid by name. The Pentagon declined comment. 

In Somalia, officials say international military forces carried out a pre-dawn strike Saturday against foreign fighters in the town of Barawe. Official say the strike was aimed at "high-profile" targets.

The strike comes two weeks after al-Shabab militants attacked Nairobi's Westgate Mall. The four-day terrorist assault killed at least 67 people.

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