Over the weekend, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to thwarting international terror organizations. In two separate special forces operations, the U.S. entered north African countries in an attempt to capture or kill high-profile terrorists.
The strikes, which took place before sunrise on Saturday, Oct. 5, targeted wanted terrorists in both Somalia and Libya. While both raids were conducted by highly trained American troops, only the Libyan raid yielded positive results.
The goal of the Libyan raid was to capture Nazih Abdul-Hamed al Rugai, commonly known as Liby. Liby had avoided capture until this point, despite being wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, according to BBC News. As a result of his involvement in the 1998 bombings, he has been listed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitives list for over a decade and his capture carries a hefty $5 million bounty.
According to the Associated Press, the raid was conducted swiftly and without the loss of American lives. Navy SEALs encircled Liby’s car as he returned to his home in Tripoli, smashing the car windows and disarming Liby before he could draw his weapon. The SEALs then apprehended him and left moments later.
Nabih, Liby’s brother, expressed his outrage at the raid, as reported by CNN. He condemned the attack, calling it an “act of piracy.”
After news of the raid broke in U.S. media outlets, Secretary of State John Kerry made a statement reaffirming that the U.S. would not yield “in its effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror.” Kerry’s resolve failed to translate into sweeping success in the Somali raid, however.
SEAL Team Six was charged with carrying out the raid in Somalia on Saturday morning in an attempt to capture a wanted Al Shabab leader, according by NBC News.
SEAL Team Six happens to be the same team responsible for conducting a raid that resulted in killing Osama Bin Laden, a high profile al-Qaida leader. The Somali raid, which took place near the coastal town of Barawe, involved the SEAL team’s use of boats to enter a terrorist compound.
The terrorist in question has been suspected in connection to the Westgate Mall attacks in Kenya roughly two weeks ago. Confusion surrounded the Somali raid’s success directly following the raid.
Initially, U.S. media outlets reported that the targeted terrorist had been captured or killed but it later became apparent that the raid had not been successful. Late breaking news confirmed the reason for the operation’s failure, noting that opposition was fierce and the SEAL team could not guarantee that the team would be able to take their target alive. As a result, the order was given to withdraw from the compound and abort the mission.
These raids represent a larger destabilization in northern Africa. In recent years, northern Africa has taken on the role of a serious breeding ground for radical terrorist organizations. However, the U.S. stance on international terrorism has been stiff and unrelenting. Kerry summed up the U.S. government’s stance in a statement issues on Sunday, saying terrorists “can run but they can’t hide.”
In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks targeting U.S. citizens and their allies, it expected that more counter offensives will be put into place.
Information from NBC News, CNN and BBC World News was used in this news report.