The New York Times reports that SEALs staged a raid on the sea-side villa of a senior leader of al-Shabbab which executed the raid on the Kenyan Westgate Mall a few weeks ago.
The SEAL team stealthily approached the beachfront house by sea, firing on the unidentified target in a predawn gunbattle that was the most significant raid by American troops on Somali soil since commandos killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Qaeda mastermind, near the same town four years ago.
The Shabab leader was believed to have been killed in the firefight, but the SEALS were forced to withdraw before that could be confirmed, a senior American official said. Such operations by American forces are rare because they carry a high risk, and indicate that the target was considered a high priority. Baraawe, a small port town south of Mogadishu, the Somali capital, is known as a gathering place for the Shabab’s foreign fighters.
I don’t know how smart a terror leader is if he has a “seaside villa” knowing that SEALs like to approach by sea.
There was some confusion as to exactly what happened before sunrise on Saturday. Witnesses described the SEAL team using silencers in the initial attack, but a loud firefight afterward. Before confirmation that an American SEAL team was behind the attack, a Shabab spokesman said British and Turkish forces were involved, which both countries immediately denied.
In related news, NBC says that the team of terrorists who attacked the Westgate Mall could have been much smaller than originally reported;
Based on reviews of security video from inside the mall, only four attackers have so far been seen.
Initial reports placed the size of the team that held off authorities for three days at nine to 12.
Still more attackers may be identified in addition to the four.
Two separate sources now say that the investigation shows no evidence of any white woman or any woman at all among the attackers.