Last updated: October 05. 2013 7:01PM - 931 Views
Associated Press



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MOGADISHU, Somalia — International military forces carried out a pre-dawn strike Saturday against foreign fighters in the same southern Somalia village where U.S. Navy SEALS four years ago killed a most-wanted al-Qaida operative, officials said.
The strike was carried out in the town of Barawe in the hours before morning prayers against what one official said were “high-profile” targets. The strike comes exactly two weeks after al-Shabab militants attacked Nairobi's Westgate Mall, a four-day terrorist assault that killed at least 67 people in neighboring Kenya.
The leader of al-Shabab, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, also known as Ahmed Godane, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was in retaliation for Kenya's military deployment inside Somalia. In Kenya, a military spokesman released the names of four men implicated in the mall attack.
The international troops attacked a two-story beachside house in Barawe where foreign fighters lived, battling their way inside, said Mohamed, who said he had visited the scene. Al-Shabab has a formal alliance with al-Qaida, and hundreds of foreign fighters from the U.S., Britain and Middle Eastern countries fight alongside Somali members of al-Shabab.
A Somalia intelligence official said the targets of the raid were “high-profile” foreigners in the house. The intelligence official also said the strike was carried out by an international military. A second intelligence official also confirmed the attack. Both insisted on anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
Foreign militaries — often the U.S. but not always — have carried out several strikes inside Somalia in recent years against al-Shabab or al-Qaida leaders, as well as criminal kidnappers. A Western intelligence official said it appeared likely that either U.S. or French forces carried out the attack. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
In Washington, Pentagon spokesman George Little said: “I decline comment.”
In Kenya, military spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir on Saturday confirmed the names of four fighters implicated 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.
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Associated Press reporters Rukmini Callimachi in Nairobi, Kenya and Robert Burns in Washington contributed to this report. Straziuso reported from Nairobi, Kenya.
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