American military groups assisted by FBI and CIA agents seized a suspected leader of Al Qaeda in Libya while Navy SEALs ‘paid a visit’ to a militant leader in a predawn firefight on the coast of Somalia.
In Tripoli, Libya, the U.S. forces captured a militant who was accused of taking part in the 1998 bombings of the United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The militant, born Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai had a $5 million bounty on his head; his capture at dawn ended a 15-year manhunt, reports The New York Times.
Meanwhile, in Somalia, the Navy SEAL team was exchanging gun shots with militants at the home of a senior leader of the Shabab, the Somali militant group.
The American militant troops opened fire on the house, with witnesses saying that the gunfire exchange lasted over an hour.
A Barawe resident unveiled to reporters that militants had closed off the town, and were going door-to-door to find anyone who gave up intel to support the raid.
“We woke up to find al-Shabab fighters had sealed off the area and their hospital is also inaccessible,” he added. “The town is in a tense mood.”
The U.S. military groups were sent to the region following the deadly massacre by the Shabab at a Nairobi shopping mall that killed more than 60 people last month.
“The … raid was planned a week and a half ago,” says the security official of the classified operation. “It was prompted by the Westgate attack.”
Al Shabaab leader, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, also known as Ahmed Godane, admitted that his group was responsible for the attack in a shopping mall, adding that it was carried out to prevent a takeover by the militant Islamic Somali group.
The SEAL team confirmed that its militants had killed Ahmed Godane, a senior American security official said. However, officials declined to identify the target.
A Somali intelligence official told reporters on the condition of anonymity that the set targets of the U.S. military raid were “high-profile” foreigners in the house. He went on, adding that the strike was carried out by an international military.
In Kenya, military spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir announced the names of four fighters involved in the Westgate Mall attack last month.
Chirchir named the attackers as Abu Baara al-Sudani, Omar Nabhan, Khattab al-Kene and Umayr, names that were first broadcast by a local Kenyan television station.
“I confirm those are the names of the terrorist,” he said.
The names of four terrorists came after reports claiming that Americans were among those who attacked a Nairobi shopping mall.
The foreign minister, Amina Mohamed, told reporters in one of his interviews that the Americans that allegedly attacked the mall were 18 to 19 years old, of Somali or Arab origin and lived “in Minnesota and one other place” in the U.S.
One more attacker from Britain was a woman who has “done this many times before,” Mohamed confirmed at the time.