Today marks the 12th anniversary of the Invasion of Afghanistan, so perhaps it’s no coincidence that there happens to be many news reports about two raids against alleged terrorists which took place over the weekend. The raid getting more attention took place in Libya and resulted in the capture of Abu Anas al-Liby, who is allegedly linked to the 1998 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Interestingly, al-Liby was reported captured at least twice in the past, once in the late 90s and a second time in January 2002.
The goal of the raid in Somalia was to capture a man named Ikrimah who, according to anonymous U.S. senior officials, claimed responsibility for the Westgate Mall massacre in Kenya. The force carrying out the mission was SEAL Team Six, the same team that allegedly killed Osama Bin Laden and has had a string of suspiciously bad luck ever since. According to other anonymous officials interviewed by the Washington Post and NYT:
[…]troops retreated after an intense gunfight unfolded, fearing that escalating it could result in civilian casualties.
[…]Witnesses described a firefight lasting over an hour, with helicopters called in for air support.
Read the full article here: http://allafrica.com/stories/201310070803.html
An early leaked report posted at the New York Times website on Saturday stated the SEAL team had succeeded in seizing a “senior leader” of al Shabaab. But 45 minutes later, the Times said officials had “backed off” that report.
According to yet another anonymous senior official quoted in a CNN report with the headline Official: Navy SEAL team pulled out when it couldn’t capture suspect alive :
Their mission was to capture him. Once it became clear we were not going to [be] able to take him, the Navy commander made the decision to withdraw.
[…]Another U.S. official told CNN the Navy SEALs reported seeing children at the compound, part of the reason the mission was stopped during the firefight.
It seems unlikely they withdrew due to safety concerns, but it’s also unusual that they attempted a live capture, given how quick they were to drone bomb alleged terrorist leaders (and innocent civillians including children) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, etc.