U.S. Military Strikes Al-Qaida Cells In Somalia
The U.S. Navy struck several suspected terrorist cells along the northern coast of Somalia Friday evening. U.S. officials told reporters that the U.S. destroyer USS Chafee fired 20 five-inch rounds at two or three targets, including the country's chief al-Qaida operative who is believed to be responsible for the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The primary target of the strike was Fazul Abdullah Mohammad, leader of the East Africa cell of al-Qaida and mastermind behind 1998 U.S. embassy attacks in Nairobi, Kenya, Dar es Salaam and Tanzania, resulting in more than 200 deaths.
USS Chafee (DDG-90)Mohammad is also believed to be responsible for the 2002 attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Mobassa, Kenya, and an attempted shootdown of an Israel charter airliner. He is on the FBI's most wanted list and believed to be one of the most "effective al-Qaida operatives left in the world." Two to three others with Mohammad are believed to have assisted in the embassy bombings. According to officials, the U.S. military had "actionable intelligence" to strike and that the strikes were ordered in fear that the suspects would leave the area. Senior U.S. officials said it is not "altogether known" what the damage assessment is or if the suspects were killed or wounded in the attack.