The destroyer USS Chafee, sailing off the coast of Somalia, fired ‘more than a dozen rounds from its 5-inch gun’ on militants in Bargal, north Somalia. The New York Times also reported that cruise missiles were fired. Somali government spokesmen claimed the strikes were launched after around 35 heavily armed militants landed on the coast near Bargal and attacked local forces.
The New York Times and analyst Micah Zenko reported that a small number of US operatives – working alongside Somali forces to hunt high-value targets believed to be among the militants – came under fire, prompting the missile launch, and enabling the US and Ethiopian troops to escape. Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the 1998 embassy bombings, was among the targets, according to MSNBC and Zenko. The strike killed eight to twelve alleged militants, reportedly including men from the UK, US, Eritrea, Sweden and Yemen according to the Daily Telegraph. Five militants were also captured, a Somali official told the Chicago Tribune. The US operatives comprised three counterterrorism officials who were “investigating the computers that the militants were carrying,” Hassan Dahir, the vice-president of Puntland, told the New York Times.
In 2013 it emerged that Yemeni Mansur al Bayhani was killed in this attack. He was one of 23 al Qaeda members who had escaped from prison on Yemen in 2006, according to author and Yemen expert Gregory Johnsen’s book The Last Refuge. Al Bayhani had turned himself in to the Yemen authorities and had sworn not to carry out any attacks in Yemen. Several of the 23 escapees went on to found al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
There are no known allegations of civilian harm from this incident. The Chicago Tribune cited a local government official, who said that no civilians were injured by the strikes as the area was uninhabited.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (9) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a mountainous area around the town of Bargaal. There is a mountain range just west of the town, however Airwars was unable to verify what area of the mountain range was struck. The coordinates for the town Bargaal are: 11.285364, 51.076189.
United States Armed Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
Stars and Stripes, June 5th, 2007:
"A senior Defense official confirmed Tuesday that the USS Chafee, based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, fired more than a dozen rounds from its 5-inch gun during the strike."