A U.S. Navy SEAL Team conducted a stealthy raid into Somalia on Saturday, targeting a senior leader of the al-Shabab terrorist group weeks after they carried out an attack on a busy Nairobi shopping mall, The New York Times reports.
The SEALs approached the target beachfront house by sea and began the raid using suppressed weapons, before a fierce hour-long firefight broke out that led to the use of helicopter air support.
“The Baraawe raid was planned a week and a half ago,” said an American security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to The Times. “It was prompted by the Westgate attack,” he added, referring to the mall in Nairobi that was overrun by militants two weeks ago.
A resident of Barawe — a seaside town 150 miles south of Mogadishu — said by telephone that heavy gunfire awoke residents before dawn prayers. An al-Shabab fighter who gave his name as Abu Mohamed said the international troops attacked a two-story beachside house in Barawe where foreign fighters lived, battling their way inside.
A Somali intelligence official told Reuters the intended target was a Chechen commander, who was wounded in the battle and whose guard was killed. The total number killed was seven, according to local police speaking to Reuters.
Al-Shabab confirmed the firefight and said one of its members had been killed, but it was unclear whether the SEALs took their target alive or dead.
The al-Qaeda-linked terror group took credit for the attack on an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya last month, which resulted in nearly 70 killed and hundreds injured.