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U.S. forces raid Somalia, capture Libyan al-Qaida leader in separate strikes

By Abdi Guled, Jason Straziuso & Kimberly Dozier

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:23 p.m. HST, Oct 05, 2013

MOGADISHU, Somalia >> In a stealthy seaside assault in Somalia and in a raid in Libya's capital, U.S. military forces today struck out against Islamic extremists who have carried out terrorist attacks in East Africa, snatching a man allegedly involved in the bombings of U.S. embassies 15 years ago but missing a man linked to last month's attack on a Nairobi shopping mall.

A U.S. Navy SEAL team slipped ashore near a southern Somalia town before the al-Qaida-linked militants 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-Qaida 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.

Within hours of the Somalia attack, relatives of a Libyan al-Qaida leader wanted for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania said he was kidnapped outside his house today in Tripoli, Libya. A U.S. official said it was American forces who captured Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known by his alias Anas al-Libi, who has been wanted by the U.S. for more than a decade.

The U.S. official says there have been no U.S. casualties in the Libya operation. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

Today's raid in Somalia occurred 20 years after the famous "Black Hawk Down" battle in Mogadishu in which a mission to capture Somali warlords went awry after Somali militiamen shot down two U.S. helicopters. Eighteen 18 U.S. forces 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-Qaida, 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 target after inflicting some casualties on fighters, said the official, who was not authorized to speak by name and insisted on anonymity.

The leader of the al-Qaida-linked Somali militant group 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-Qaida 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-Qaida operatives in the region and an alleged plotter in the 1998 embassy bombings that killed more than 220 people.

The Libyan al-Qaida leader also wanted for the bombings, al-Libi, is believed to have returned to Libya during the 2011 civil war that led to the ouster and killing of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

His brother, Nabih, said al-Libi was parking outside his house early Saturday after dawn prayers when three vehicles encircled him, smashed the car's window and seized his gun before grabbing him and taking him away. The brother said el-Libi's wife saw the kidnapping from her window and described the abductors as foreign-looking armed "commandos."

Al-Libi is on the FBI's most-wanted list with a $5 million bounty on his head.

A resident of Barawe who gave his name as Mohamed Bile said militants in Barawe 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.


Straziuso reported from Nairobi, Kenya. Dozier reported Charlotte, N.C. Rukmini Callimachi contributed from Nairobi. Matthew Lee in Bali, Indonesia contributed to this report.

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saywhatyouthink wrote:
hang um high
on October 5,2013 | 02:38PM
Oahuan wrote:
al-Qaida is also fighting along side the Syrian rebels. So why does Obama want to side with the rebels? Syria will just become another al-Qaida hot spot like Somalia.
on October 5,2013 | 02:55PM
2Lolo wrote:
Sounds confusing,whose side is OB on, but ultimately, he answers to the PTB in the NWO. Their ultimate aim is to facilitate the placement of the AC. Nations will be brought down in chaos, left leaderless, by orders of the du jour Al CIA-da ffor hire, and or the (usual) killng and mayhem ensue. Folks. This is theatre for the eventual unveiling of the AC. Coming soon! It better be good and if it is the boob I suspect, I.will.be.soooooo.disappointed.
on October 5,2013 | 03:59PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
What is PTB, NWO and AC?
on October 5,2013 | 04:50PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
I heard of Mogadishu, in The Living Daylights, a James Bond movie with Timothy Dalton, about 25 years ago.
on October 5,2013 | 04:53PM
2Lolo wrote:
Powers that be, New World Order, and Anti Christ. You really need to get ready my friend..
on October 5,2013 | 05:34PM
localguy wrote:
Oahuan - You must be a product of the Nei's failing education system. The rebels and al-Qaeda are not working together. From the USA Today article, "On Wednesday, moderate Syrian rebels were engaged in their fiercest fighting to date with al-Qaeda-affiliated fighters on Syria's northern and eastern borders." Rebels are fighting against al-Qaeda. Read about it and how to correctly spell al-Qaida = al-Qaeda. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/09/21/syria-christians/2843139/ Rookie posters again..........
on October 5,2013 | 04:03PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Anything goes in these forums, so thanks for pointing out fiction. I hope those that regularly post on TheRail know that some probably post fiction there also. We all need to take everything with a grain of salt, except French Fries, which have a lot of salt on them already!!
on October 5,2013 | 04:56PM
2Lolo wrote:
Thank you for reading and for your link, however, I don't give credence to mainstream articles let alone USA Today. The Rebels and which ever other faction du jour they may be fighting against (until they are fighting with) are mere cannon fodder, bought and paid for by the shadow government. Al Qaida was deliberately misspelled as al Q CAI da as they were created by the CIA, specifically Zbigniew Brzezinski. There is no conflict on earth which has not been carefully contrived and orchestrated for some time. WWIII is now in progress and is a game of chess with kings and queens taken or cornered by the many sacrificing pawns, and then by the ascending ranks of knights, rooks, bishops. It always has been this way and will be for a short while. Another metaphor for this world stage could be likened to The Real Life of the Rothschilds with its massive, powerful kingdoms scattered around the globe. This Kingdom has the estimated worth of half a Quadrilliion dollars, or as high as Satan and the Vatican may deem. Each is led by its own very special blood-thirsting psychopathic, out to grab the brass ring for himself. The Iranians side first with the Russians who are very protective of their client state, sort of, until they can advance forward on their own. The Chinese, no less, with the Iranians and the Russians, also in wait to out flank the enemy first until they, too, are out for themselves. The playbook may change at any time as has happened with Hitler in WWII. When a leader disobeys and goes off course, the game plan is shifted and the hot spots rearranged. Sheeple like us do serve a purpose. We produce their food, clean their messes and fight in their armies. Some of us are even their ....food. Anyways, I am glad that MY God is Great and in Him I trust!
on October 5,2013 | 05:30PM
cojef wrote:
The PTB must be ever be changing since they have life expectancy like us humans, likewise I assume is the NWO and maybe the AC since it is assumed to a mythical. Will the AC be marked with the numerical symbols as indicated in pulp magazines?
on October 6,2013 | 10:31AM
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