In a stealthy seaside assault in Somalia and in a raid in Libya’s capital, U.S. military forces on Saturday struck out against Islamic extremists who have carried out terrorist attacks in East Africa, snatching a man allegedly involved in the bombings of U.S. embassies 15 years ago but missing a man linked to last month’s attack on a Nairobi shopping mall.
A U.S. Navy SEAL team slipped ashore near a southern Somalia town before the al-Qaida-linked militants rose for dawn prayers, U.S. and Somali officials told The Associated Press. The raid on a house in the town of Barawe targeted a specific al-Qaida suspect related to the mall attack, but the operation did not get its target, one current and one former U.S. military official told AP.
You never know if these things are quite as reported, of course, because there’s quite a bit of psychological warfare going on as well. But it sounds as though the wheels of justice ground slow but exceedingly fine for the perpetrator of the 1998 Al Qaeda attacks on the US embassies in Tanzania (Dar es Salaam) and Kenya (Nairobi).
The Nairobi bombing was the worst in terms of casualties, and it took an especially large toll on Kenyan citizens:
In Nairobi, approximately 212 people were killed, and an estimated 4,000 wounded; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85…Although the attacks were directed at American facilities, the vast majority of casualties were local citizens; 12 Americans were killed, including two Central Intelligence Agency employees in the Nairobi embassy, Tom Shah and Molly Huckaby Hardy, and one U.S. Marine, Sergeant Jesse Aliganga, a Marine Security Guard at the Nairobi embassy.
The man Wiki lists as having been the mastermind of the 1998 bombings, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed (the leader of al Qaeda’s East African operations), actually had already been killed in 2011 after being stopped at a checkpoint near Mogadishu. The man reportedly captured today is a Libyan, long-time al Qaeda leader Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai. He’s been reported captured before, twice, but both reports were in error. Let’s hope the news of his capture is correct this time.
And Navy SEALS are among the bravest people on earth. But that goes almost without saying.