At least one and as many as seven al Shabaab militants were killed in a naval raid carried out by US forces in Barawe, Lower Shabelle, international media reported. There were no reports of civilian harm.
It was not at first clear who was the target of the raid. Reports varied from an unnamed Chechen; al Shabaab’s leader Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr (aka Ahmed Godane); or a Sudanese national. It later emerged Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir (aka Ikrima) was the target of the attack. He was listed in a Kenyan security services report as a leader of a plot to attack targets in Kenya in 2011 and 2012.
The assault itself was unsuccessful, Associated Press reported. Navy Seals attacked a house where foreign fighters lived at about 2.30am, according to Abu Mohamed, an al Shabaab fighter. But the troops reportedly met stiff resistance and unexpectedly found women and children were in the house. They retreated “after a 15-20 minute firefight”. The Toronto Star reported the US force had tipped al Shabaab off to the impending assault by jamming the internet minutes before attacking. Militant spokesperson Abdulaziz Abu Musab likened the raid to a failed French Special Forces assault in January 2013 which had left at least eight civilians dead..
A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed US forces took part in the raid, while multiple anonymous former and serving US officials told Associated Press that US Navy Seals carried out the assault. It was also not clear how many people were killed. Senior Mogadishu police officer Colonel Abdikadir Mohamed said seven died: five militants and two from the attacking forces.
However, US officials said none of their own troops died. although al Shabaab tweeted two gruesome pictures purportedly of US soldiers they “executed”. A spokesperson for the militants said one militant died but the Daily Telegraph reported two senior al Shabaab fighters were killed and a third was injured. Somali sources told the paper that Abdi Qadar, a Swedish-Somali, and Awab al Uqba (aka Sheikh Abdirahim), a Sudanese, were killed. Al Uqba reportedly trained members of al Shabaab’s intelligence wing, Amniyat, which reportedly would have been central in the planning for the Westgate mall attack.
The attack coincided with a successful US Special Forces raid in Libya. Hours after the aborted Somali raid, soldiers from the US Army Delta Force snatched Nazih Abdul Hamed al Ruqai (aka Anas al Libi) from the streets of Tripoli. Al Ruqai was wanted for his part in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
In April 2014 it emerged that FBI agents had been working closely with JSOC in the years since the September 11 attacks. A Washington Post report said an agent from the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) was with the Seals when they stormed the beach in Barawe. An HRT agent was also reportedly with the Delta Force commandos when they snatched al Rauqai from the streets of Tripoli.
The incident occured at approximately 2:30 am local time.
Sources (19) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the raid targeted a two-storey beach house in the coastal town of Baraawe (1.112554, 44.028921). Eyewitnesses said that the raid happened just before dawn prayers and that special forces were seen near the mosque, 200 meters from the sea. According to a map provided by the Guardian, the targeted house is located at these coordinates: 1.113632, 44.032311; and the mosque here: 1.113756, 44.032693.
United States Armed Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
Centrail Maine/AP, October 5th, 2013:
"MOGADISHU, Somalia — U.S. Navy SEALs carried out a pre-dawn raid today on a coastal town in southern Somalia looking for a specific al-Qaida suspect linked to the Nairobi shopping mall attack, but did not get their target, a U.S. military official told The Associated Press.
A former U.S. military official also confirmed the raid by the SEALs, but no other details have been provided. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the raid by name. The Pentagon declined comment."