U.S. Special Forces have reportedly killed one of Africa's most wanted al-Qaeda suspects -- and now his Somali insurgency group has vowed revenge against the United States.
According to multiple news reports and the deputy mayor for security in Mogadishu, Special Forces helicopters opened fire on a car in a Somalian village Monday, killing Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan.
The Pentagon, which rarely talks openly about Special Forces operations, would not comment on the raid. But two U.S. military officials told the Associated Press that forces from the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command were involved.
Nabhan is a Kenyan wanted for questioning in connection with a car bombing at a hotel at a Kenyan beach resort, and the near simultaneous attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner in 2002. Ten Kenyans and three Israelis were killed in the blast at the hotel. The missiles missed the airliner.
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In addition to allegedly being an al-Qaeda operative, Nabhan was also thought to be involved with the Somalian insurgency group al-Shabab. A commander for that group told the AP it will try to retaliate against the U.S. for the raid.
Somalia is pretty much a lawless nation, in which the United Nations-backed government only controls a few blocks of the war-ravaged capital of Mogadishu. The rest is controlled by al-Shabab, which the U.S. accuses of having ties to al-Qaeda. Al-Shabab's stated goal is to overthrow the government and impose a strict form of Islam in Somalia.
Many experts fear Somalia is becoming a haven for al-Qaeda -- much like Afghanistan was in the 1990s. The commando-style raid shows the U.S. is serious about nipping this in the bud this time around.