U.S. forces kill Somali rebel tied to al-Qaida
U.S. commandos killed one of the most wanted Islamic extremists in Africa in a daylight raid in southern Somalia on Monday, according to U.S. and Somali officials, an indication of the Obama administration's willingness to use force against al-Qaida's growing influence in the region.
The New York Times
NAIROBI, Kenya — U.S. commandos killed one of the most wanted Islamic extremists in Africa in a daylight raid in southern Somalia on Monday, according to U.S. and Somali officials, an indication of the Obama administration's willingness to use force against al-Qaida's growing influence in the region.
Western intelligence agents have described the rebel, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, as the ringleader of an al-Qaida cell in Kenya responsible for the bombing of an Israeli hotel on the Kenyan coast in 2002. Nabhan may have also played a role in the attacks on two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998.
U.S. military forces have been hunting him for years, and on Monday, Somali villagers near the town of Baraawe said four military helicopters suddenly materialized over the horizon and shot at two trucks rumbling through the desert.
The two trucks were carrying leaders of al-Shabab, an Islamist extremist group fighting to overthrow Somalia's government. Al-Shabab works hand in hand with foreign terrorists, according to intelligence agents, and in the past few months seems to be drawing closer to al-Qaida.
Under the Bush administration, the U.S. military used long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles and AC-130 gunships to carry out strikes against terror suspects in Somalia. One U.S. adviser said the decision to use commandos and not long-range missiles in this case may reflect a shift by the Obama administration to go to greater lengths to avoid civilian deaths. In the past, many Somali villagers have been killed by U.S. cruise missiles.
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