USG Kills (Or Captures?) Senior Shabab Leader

Wells Bennett
Saturday, October 5, 2013, 4:37 PM
That's the news from the New York Times.

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That's the news from the New York Times.  The piece, by Nicholas Kulish and Eric Schmitt, begins:

NAIROBI, Kenya — A Navy SEAL team targeted a senior leader of the Shabab militant group in a raid on his seaside villa in the Somali town of Baraawe on Saturday, American officials said, in response to a deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall for which the group had claimed responsibility.

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.

Update: The above reflects a change in the Times's reporting.  Initially, it was thought that the "senior leader" in question had been captured.  Now it appears that this person may have been killed during the SEAL raid.  The story, apparently, is developing.

Wells C. Bennett was Managing Editor of Lawfare and a Fellow in National Security Law at the Brookings Institution. Before coming to Brookings, he was an Associate at Arnold & Porter LLP.

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