WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) — The U.S. military conducted an operation in Somalia Friday night against Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, known as “Ikrima,” a top commander in the al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabaab, but failed to capture him, the Pentagon said Monday.
“While the operation did not result in Ikrima’s capture, U.S. military personnel conducted the operation with unparalleled precision and demonstrated that the United States can put direct pressure on al-Shabaab leadership at any time of our choosing,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.
Ikrima, a Kenyan of Somali origin, is closely associated with now-deceased al-Qaida operatives Harun Fazul and Saleh Nabhan, who played roles in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya and in the 2002 attacks on a hotel and airline in Mombassa, Kenya, which killed Kenyan and Israeli citizens.
The U.S. military, working in partnership with Somalia’s government, will continue to confront the threat posed by al-Shabaab, Little said.
“The United States military has unmatched capabilities and could rely on any of them to disrupt terrorist networks and plots,” he added.
U.S. media earlier reported that U.S. Navy SEALs pulled out during the raid in Somalia on Friday after they learned they could not capture Ikrima alive as an intense firefight broke out.
Some reports quoted U.S. officials as saying that the reason the SEALs decided to withdraw was because children were used as human shields by the militants inside a seaside villa in the al-Shabaab-controlled southern Somalia town of Barawe.
The operation in Somalia was one of two raids launched over the weekend by the U.S. military against terrorists in Africa. Little confirmed Sunday that the U.S. military conducted a “successful” operation Saturday in Libya to capture longtime al-Qaida member Abu Anas al Libi, who was behind the bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.
Libi is currently detained under the law of war in a secure location outside of Libya, Little said in a statement. The operation was approved by President Barack Obama and conducted by U.S. military with the coordination across U.S. national security and intelligence agencies, Little added.
Libi has been indicted by a U.S. court in connection with his alleged role in al-Qaida’s plots to attack U.S. forces stationed in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia, and the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, which killed more than 200 people.