Raid Killed Somali Allies Of Al Qaeda, U.S. Says

Raid Killed Somali Allies Of Al Qaeda, U.S. Says
January 12th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Raid Killed Somali Allies Of Al Qaeda, U.S. Says

Raid Killed Somali Allies Of Al Qaeda, U.S. Says
New York Times
January 12, 2007

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Jan. 11 (AP) — A top American official in the Horn of Africa said Thursday that none of the suspected members of Al Qaeda believed to be hiding in Somalia died in the American airstrike this week, but added that Somalis with close ties to the terrorist group were killed.
Somali officials said Wednesday that Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a main suspect in the bombings of the American Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, had been killed in the American attack.
United States officials immediately distanced themselves from the Somali claim, saying that they were not even sure Mr. Fazul was among the terrorism suspects hiding in southern Somalia with Islamist fighters. They did say then that Abu Taha al-Sudani, a top aide to Mr. Fazul, and Aden Hashi Ayrow, a Somali terrorism suspect, might have been killed.
But on Thursday, the American official, based in Kenya, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media, said American special forces and Ethiopian troops — who are in the country to battle the Islamists and support Somalia’s transitional government — were still pursuing Al Qaeda suspects in southern Somalia.
American and Somali officials have acknowledged that a small team of American Special Operations forces are in Somalia hunting suspected Qaeda fighters and providing military advice to Ethiopian and Somali forces on the ground.
The American forces entered Somalia with Ethiopian forces late last month when Ethiopians launched their attack against the Islamic movement, one official said on condition of anonymity.
Mr. Fazul, one of the F.B.I.’s most wanted terrorism suspects, has evaded capture for eight years. The Somali president’s chief of staff said Wednesday that he had been killed in an American airstrike in southern Somalia.
The American official in the region said 8 to 10 individuals had been killed in the attack, most of whom were Somalis with close ties to Al Qaeda.
Meanwhile, Somali and Ethiopian forces skirmished with Islamic militiamen near Ras Kamboni in Somalia’s southernmost tip early Thursday, part of mop-up operations that Mr. Meles said his troops were carrying out against the fighters that were driven from Somalia’s capital weeks ago.
The Ethiopian Information Ministry said Thursday that its military was also launching helicopter and troop attacks around Dobley, about four miles from the Kenyan border.
A rights group in Fanole, in the south, said Thursday that thousands of Somalis fleeing the fighting were now stranded on the Kenyan border, which has been largely closed.
“Thousands are in a bad condition and they do not have food and water,” said Ali Bashi, chairman of the Fanole Human Rights Center. “They are stranded at the border after Kenya closed it and they cannot go back to their houses for two reasons: the ongoing airstrikes and lack of transportation.”
January 13th, 2007  
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