US Spec Forces Kill Al Qaeda Leader in Somalia

#1
Somalia: Another U.S. Strike on Al-Qaeda in a Terror Breeding Ground
By Alex Perry Monday, Sep. 14, 2009

Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan


The deadly drama of piracy, terrorism and humanitarian catastrophe that is Somalia took another twist Monday when a squad of U.S. Special Operations helicopter gunships, launched off a Navy vessel in the Indian Ocean, attacked and killed an alleged al-Qaeda leader inside Somalia, U.S. officials told TIME. The dead man was believed to be Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a 28-year-old Kenyan wanted for attacks on a seaside hotel and an Israeli airliner in 2002 in Kenya. It was at least the sixth attack by U.S. forces inside Somalia in less than three years and the latest in a series of U.S. assassinations of al-Qaeda operatives in that country. According to news reports, Nabhan was killed when up to four U.S. helicopters fired on a convoy carrying suspected Al-Qaeda targets in a village in southern Somalia on Monday. The reports said the helicopters attacked a vehicle, killing some people inside, then circled back and landed to pick up the bodies and any survivors for identification.

As much as it seemed to be a successful strike against terrorism, the attack was also a testament to Somalia's longevity as a refuge for Islamist militants. Conditions haven't changed in years. Somalia last had a government worthy of the name nearly two decades ago, in 1991. For most of the 1990s, like Afghanistan at the time, the country was torn apart by rival warlords. Like Afghanistan too, out of that chaos arose an army of radical Islamist warriors determined to bring strict religious law and order to the country, but also open to funding from and cooperation with al-Qaeda. The first shots in what later became known as the war on terror were fired by these Somalia-based militants when they blew up the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on Aug. 7, 1998, killing 213 and 11 people respectively. But Afghanistan, and later Pakistan, became the focus of the militant Islamic threat after al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden moved himself and his main base of operations there in 1996, after he was expelled from Sudan, eventually to perpetrate the attacks of 9/11. (See pictures of the life of Osama bin Laden.)

But the Somali branch of al-Qaeda never retired. On Nov. 26, 2002, al-Qaeda killed 15 people when gunmen led by Nabhan, according to the FBI, attacked the Israeli-owned Paradise Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, and fired two missiles at an Israeli charter airliner in Kenyan airspace the same night, which missed. In 2003, staff at the new U.S. embassy in Nairobi evacuated for a week over reports that al-Qaeda wanted to level the new building; there was also a never-executed plot to attack a U.S. military base in Djibouti in 2006. Bin Laden himself has released frequent video recordings urging Somali Islamists to take over the country.

Since late 2006, Somalia's chaos has been felt ever more keenly around the world. The Islamists, under the umbrella organization of a group called the Islamic Courts Union, briefly took control of Mogadishu in spring 2006. But radicals in their ranks declared a jihad on neighboring Ethiopia — a mixed Muslim and Christian country — and Ethiopia invaded Somalia in December of that year. U.S. Special Operations troops hitched a ride with that operation, using the opportunity to track down the U.S. embassy bombers and any other al-Qaeda operatives inside the country. During that invasion, al-Qaeda bomb-maker Tariq Abdullah, a.k.a. Abu Taha al-Sudani, was killed in a hit carried out by an Ethiopian military helicopter. (Read a story about an Australian crackdown on Somali terror suspects.)

Despite that success, concerns over al-Qaeda in Africa have continued to grow as the group demonstrates an ever more muscular presence with a series of bombings, kidnappings and assassinations from Mauritania to Somaliland. The Somali connection is proving a particular worry with the regrouping of the militants under the new unified command of a group called the Shabaab and the discovery that scores of young Muslim men from the U.S., Britain and Australia are traveling to Somalia to receive weapons training in Shabaab camps. This year three men from Minneapolis pleaded guilty to terror-related charges in the U.S., and at least three more have died inside Somalia, including one whom authorities believe is the first American suicide bomber. Australian authorities last month revealed they had uncovered an alleged plot by immigrants, including three Somalis, to carry out a suicide attack. And on Sunday, reports emerged in Britain of a group of ethnic Somalis also traveling to the Somali camps for training. It is these camps that may have prompted Monday's strikes. Nabhan was believed to be a central figure in the management of the camps, as was former Shabaab leader, Aden Hashi Ayro, who was killed in a U.S. missile strike in March 2008.

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1923169,00.html
 
#2
Heard about a strike by 'foreign' troops on the TV earlier but local reports say it was the Frenchies. Good scalp to have for the Americans anyway. Good job.
 
#3
If only the US had decided on this tactic with Bin Laden, then we may not have had to spend hundreds of troops in a war that will last decades.
 
#4
Cabana said:
If only the US had decided on this tactic with Bin Laden, then we may not have had to spend hundreds of troops in a war that will last decades.
It was not for want of opportunities or capabilites but lack of will of Clinton. The one occasion that offered the best chance to get him occurred in the middle of the Lewinski scandal and even some in his inner circle have speculated that this did not get his full attention as a result.

Yet another politician whose picture deserves to be on anyone's wall of shame. GWB also shares the blame since we diverted much effort to Iraq during the critical time when we could have gotten him the easiest.
 
#5
jumpinjarhead said:
Cabana said:
If only the US had decided on this tactic with Bin Laden, then we may not have had to spend hundreds of troops in a war that will last decades.
It was not for want of opportunities or capabilites but lack of will of Clinton. The one occasion that offered the best chance to get him occurred in the middle of the Lewinski scandal and even some in his inner circle have speculated that this did not get his full attention as a result.

Yet another politician whose picture deserves to be on anyone's wall of shame. GWB also shares the blame since we diverted much effort to Iraq during the critical time when we could have gotten him the easiest.
I believe GWB has been a total idiot from the beginning. The initial objective for invading Afghanistan was to get Bin Laden and deny Al Qaeda a training ground. So of course when the wizz bangs start, what would any self respecting Bin Laden do? Go to the next country along. There are many countries that have Al Qaeda training camps in them, they have included Bosnia. There are probably some in the US. The guys who perpatrated that henious act on the 11th of september 2001 obviously had help from operatives inside the US.

You are right, Bush should most definatly have taken a lesson from Hitler and not overstretch his military by going into Iraq. However, he did hand over responsability for sorting Afghanistan out to NATO which was in a way clever of him but rather stupid of NATO. The problem is, the US cannot fully hand over due to their desire to be in control.
 
#6
Cabana said:
There are many countries that have Al Qaeda training camps in them, they have included Bosnia. There are probably some in the US. The guys who perpatrated that henious act on the 11th of september 2001 obviously had help from operatives inside the US.

You are right, Bush should most definatly have taken a lesson from Hitler and not overstretch his military by going into Iraq.
First point. Are you saying determined men cannot buy themselves air tickets and smuggle a few weapons on board, bearing in mind security was less strict pre-9-11, without being helped by terror cells based in the US?

And two, Hitler spread his army over continents. Yes, Iraq is a big country, but it isn't that big.
 
#7
Well done to the US forces for sending this scumbag on his way to his 72 virgins or whatever. Hope they all turn out to be ladyboys with bigger knobs than his, and are hungry for new, mujahideen flesh in that afterlife.
 
#8
BrokenArrow said:
Cabana said:
There are many countries that have Al Qaeda training camps in them, they have included Bosnia. There are probably some in the US. The guys who perpatrated that henious act on the 11th of september 2001 obviously had help from operatives inside the US.

You are right, Bush should most definatly have taken a lesson from Hitler and not overstretch his military by going into Iraq.
First point. Are you saying determined men cannot buy themselves air tickets and smuggle a few weapons on board, bearing in mind security was less strict pre-9-11, without being helped by terror cells based in the US?
No, not at all, but when you consider that firstly that this was their second attempt against the world trade centre.
Secondly it is obvious that a certain amount of intelligence gathering went on prior to the execution of this atrocity. Such as training the terrorist to fly the planes in the US, flight time tables, how much fuel would be on specific airplanes, locations etc etc

And two, Hitler spread his army over continents. Yes, Iraq is a big country, but it isn't that big.
Interesting point, but you forget that like us, the US have military all over the world and are overstretched. They have a vast of troops in Korea for one, ready for another war there, then you have their normal postings, Bosnia, Japan, Germany etc etc. Then of course you have those that are sick, wounded on leave.
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
SNIP
If only the US had decided on this tactic with Bin Laden, then we may not have had to spend hundreds of troops in a war that will last decades
SNIP

What makes anyone think Bin Laden is still alive? Occasional voice recordings? Bah.

FYI, the number of troops the US has in Korea is a 28,500 - mainly REMFs and airforce. In a million man military, hardly a 'vast' amount.
 
#11
Andy_S said:
SNIP
If only the US had decided on this tactic with Bin Laden, then we may not have had to spend hundreds of troops in a war that will last decades
SNIP

What makes anyone think Bin Laden is still alive? Occasional voice recordings? Bah.
Well, I could respond with, what makes you think he is dead? There is more to suggest he is alive then dead. However, my main point is instead of invading for revenge etc, why not take out the leadership of Al Qaeda. That has been shown to work just recently in Sri Lanka. Granted very different scenarios, but without effective leadership Al Qaeda or any terrorist group for that matter will be ineffective.

e number of troops the US has in Korea is a 28,500 - mainly REMFs and airforce. In a million man military, hardly a 'vast' amount.
Quite possibly (I thought on average it is 37-50,000, but no matter), but didnt the US send a large number there recently when tensions escalated. As I said, the US is in many countries (54 I believe) not just Korea. It all adds up.
 
#12
I salute our colonial allies and buy them a virtual beer for their success in removing another pollutant from the gene pool.

Whatever the rhetoric fom the Islamists, the leadership are never in mch of a hurry to reach the paradise they preach to others.

They will be feeling a little less secure as they skulk in their holes today.
 
#13
Cabana said:
BrokenArrow said:
Cabana said:
There are many countries that have Al Qaeda training camps in them, they have included Bosnia. There are probably some in the US. The guys who perpatrated that henious act on the 11th of september 2001 obviously had help from operatives inside the US.

You are right, Bush should most definatly have taken a lesson from Hitler and not overstretch his military by going into Iraq.
First point. Are you saying determined men cannot buy themselves air tickets and smuggle a few weapons on board, bearing in mind security was less strict pre-9-11, without being helped by terror cells based in the US?
No, not at all, but when you consider that firstly that this was their second attempt against the world trade centre.
Secondly it is obvious that a certain amount of intelligence gathering went on prior to the execution of this atrocity. Such as training the terrorist to fly the planes in the US, flight time tables, how much fuel would be on specific airplanes, locations etc etc

And two, Hitler spread his army over continents. Yes, Iraq is a big country, but it isn't that big.
Interesting point, but you forget that like us, the US have military all over the world and are overstretched. They have a vast of troops in Korea for one, ready for another war there, then you have their normal postings, Bosnia, Japan, Germany etc etc. Then of course you have those that are sick, wounded on leave.
Nope - they been, they gone! Only a couple of G2 staff and some NATO jobs but no troops.
 
#14
rickshaw-major said:
Cabana said:
BrokenArrow said:
Cabana said:
There are many countries that have Al Qaeda training camps in them, they have included Bosnia. There are probably some in the US. The guys who perpatrated that henious act on the 11th of september 2001 obviously had help from operatives inside the US.

You are right, Bush should most definatly have taken a lesson from Hitler and not overstretch his military by going into Iraq.
First point. Are you saying determined men cannot buy themselves air tickets and smuggle a few weapons on board, bearing in mind security was less strict pre-9-11, without being helped by terror cells based in the US?
No, not at all, but when you consider that firstly that this was their second attempt against the world trade centre.
Secondly it is obvious that a certain amount of intelligence gathering went on prior to the execution of this atrocity. Such as training the terrorist to fly the planes in the US, flight time tables, how much fuel would be on specific airplanes, locations etc etc

And two, Hitler spread his army over continents. Yes, Iraq is a big country, but it isn't that big.
Interesting point, but you forget that like us, the US have military all over the world and are overstretched. They have a vast of troops in Korea for one, ready for another war there, then you have their normal postings, Bosnia, Japan, Germany etc etc. Then of course you have those that are sick, wounded on leave.
Nope - they been, they gone! Only a couple of G2 staff and some NATO jobs but no troops.
Actually, not quite, but I see what you are saying. At the time of the Afghan and Iraq invasion there were quite a number of US troops in Bosnia.
 
#16
US troops raid Somali town controlled by fighters

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN and ANNE GEARAN (AP) – 7 hours ago

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Foreign troops in helicopters strafed a car Monday in a Somali town controlled by Islamist insurgents, killing two men and capturing two others who were wounded, witnesses said. U.S. military officials said American forces were involved in the raid.

The commando-style action took place in a village near Barawe amid growing fears that al-Qaida is gaining a foothold in this lawless nation.

Two U.S. military officials said forces from the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command were involved. The officials gave no details about the raid or its target, and they spoke on condition of anonymity because the operation was secret.

Several news organizations reported that a top al-Qaida-linked suspect wanted in the 2002 bombing of an Israeli hotel in Kenya was among those killed. The New York Times, The Washington Post and BBC cited anonymous U.S. and Western intelligence officials in their reports, which could not be independently confirmed on Monday night.

Many experts fear Somalia is becoming a haven for al-Qaida, a place for terrorists to train and gather strength — much like Afghanistan in the 1990s. The U.N.-backed government, with support from African Union peacekeepers, holds only a few blocks of Mogadishu, the war-ravaged capital.

Last year, U.S. missiles killed reputed al-Qaida commander Aden Hashi Ayro — the first major success after a string of U.S. military attacks in 2008.

Like much of Somalia, Barawe and its surrounding villages are controlled by the militant group al-Shabab, which the U.S. accuses of having ties to al-Qaida. Al-Shabab, which has foreign fighters in its ranks, seeks to overthrow the government and impose a strict form of Islam in Somalia.

Witness Abdi Ahmed said six helicopters buzzed the village before two of the aircraft opened fire. After the helicopters fired, soldiers in military fatigues got out and left with the two wounded men.

"There was only a burning vehicle and two dead bodies lying beside it," said Mohamed Ali Aden, a bus driver who drove past the burnt-out car minutes after the attack, some 155 miles (250 kilometers) south of Mogadishu.


Somalia's weak government has very few resources and does not have helicopters or other modern equipment.

Witness Dahir Ahmed said the helicopters took off from a warship flying a French flag, but that could not be confirmed and French military spokesman Christophe Prazuck denied the attack was a French operation.

"They are not French helicopters," he said. France previously has launched commando raids to rescue French nationals.

The U.S. government — haunted by the deadly 1993 U.S. military assault in Mogadishu chronicled in the 1999 book "Black Hawk Down," made into a 2001 film — is trying to neutralize the growing terrorist threat without sending in troops.

Somalia has been ravaged by violence and anarchy since warlords overthrew dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other. A moderate Islamist was elected president in January in hopes that he could unite the country's feuding factions, but the violence has continued unabated.

Mogadishu sees near-daily battles between government and insurgent forces. Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed.

Somalia's lawlessness also has allowed piracy to flourish off its coast, making the Gulf of Aden one of the most dangerous waterways in the world.

AP National Security Writer Anne Gearan reported from Washington, D.C.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g7OaI4_kjeHA-o4UhlmP7vlWmrrwD9ANHO2G0
 
#17
Somalia: Islamists vow revenge against US for death of al-Qaeda terrorist
Al-Qaeda-inspired extremists in Somalia have vowed to retaliate for a US helicopter raid which killed a key suspect linked to terrorist attacks in Kenya.


By Mike Pflanz in Nairobi
Published: 12:18PM BST 15 Sep 2009
Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan: 'US helicopter attack' kills top al-Qaeda suspect in Somalia


A senior figure within the hardline al-Shabaab insurgency in Somalia said "this can only make our will to defeat America and its allies stronger".

Speaking from Mogadishu but refusing to be named, the man threatened more attacks on Somalia's weak Western-backed transitional government and a greater focus on US allies in east Africa.

This is likely to mean both Kenya and Ethiopia.

His comments came the day after US special forces used at least two helicopters to launch a daylight attack on a convoy of vehicles understood to be carrying senior al-Shabaab leaders.

The helicopters took off shortly after noon from a US warship patrolling close to the southern Somali coast.

Security sources in neighbouring Kenya said that commanders would have received specific and urgent intelligence that one of the men on the FBI's most wanted list was on the move.

Washington has been hunting Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan since 2002, when he is alleged to have helped lead terror attacks on a Kenyan beach hotel popular with Israelis. Ten Kenyans and three Israelis died.

Kenya also wanted to interrogate Kenyan-born Nabhan over possible links to the US embassy bombing in 1998.

The US had tried to eliminate him before, with a failed missile attack early last year.

On Monday, less than an hour after they took off, the helicopters strafed a the small group of four-wheel-drives as they sped towards Barawe town, 130 miles south of Mogadishu.

"I heard the helicopters, they were much lower than I have seen them before," said Hussein Abdullahi Osman, a teacher in a village close to Barawe.

"Very soon after there was a lot of noise and then smoke was rising into the air." US officials anonymously confirmed that Nabhan had been the target and that the raid â had been a success'.

At least one of the helicopters landed at the attack site to collect Nabhan's body and that of another man who died. Two injured men were also taken into custory, reports said.

Al-Shabaab's leader, Aden Hashi Ayro, was killed in a US warplane attack in May last year.

But other US attempts to neutralise al-Qaeda's allies in the Horn of Africa have met with limited success.

Monday's mission is believed to be the first time that US helicopters have landed in Somalia since the notorious Black Hawk Down debacle of 1993.

"It seems they have listened to complaints over earlier civilian casualties, this was a much cleaner, more targeted strike," said a Western diplomat in Nairobi focused on Somalia.

The attack will have "sent other al-Qaeda operatives scurrying for cover", said EJ Hogendoorn, a Somalia expert at the International Crisis Group.

"I would take any threats of retaliation made now with a grain of salt," he added.

"But fears expressed in the past about terrorists to be able to attack soft targets in the region is still very much relevant. The defences are still very weak."


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wor...ainst-US-for-death-of-al-Qaeda-terrorist.html
 
#18
Reuters
Somali rebels call for foreign reinforcements
Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:05am EDT
By Mohamed Ahmed

MOGADISHU, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Somalia's al Shabaab insurgents called on Wednesday for more foreign militants to join them in the failed Horn of Africa state after U.S. forces killed one of the region's most wanted al Qaeda suspects.

The U.S. special forces operation that killed Kenyan-born Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, 28, in remote southern Somalia on Monday has triggered an angry response from Islamist rebels fighting the nation's U.N.-backed government.

http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSLG731419._CH_.2400
 
#19
singha61 said:
MOGADISHU, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Somalia's al Shabaab insurgents called on Wednesday for more foreign militants to join them in the failed Horn of Africa state after U.S. forces killed one of the region's most wanted al Qaeda suspects.
"Come and join us, the Boss just got reduced to a red smear on the upholstery!"

I have to say I've heard of more compelling reasons to join an army.
 
#20
angular said:
singha61 said:
MOGADISHU, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Somalia's al Shabaab insurgents called on Wednesday for more foreign militants to join them in the failed Horn of Africa state after U.S. forces killed one of the region's most wanted al Qaeda suspects.
"Come and join us, the Boss just got reduced to a red smear on the upholstery!"

I have to say I've heard of more compelling reasons to join an army.
Angular--you have too "western" a perspective--after all many of these "warriors" couldn't get a date if they were a billionaire who looked like Clive Owen. Thus they need to be martyrs to get to those virgins.
 

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