U.S. Airstrikes Continue in Southern Somalia
(Jan. 8, 2007) - An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to the "Wildcats" of Strike Fighter Squadron One Three One (VFA-131) lands aboard the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Click image to view.
Reports of al Qaeda operative Fazul Abdullah Mohammed have yet to be confirmed
The U.S. is continuing to pound Islamic Courts and al Qaeda targets in southern Somalia. Reuters reports four towns "in an area close to Ras Kamboni," - Hayo, Garer, Bankajirow and Badmadowe - were struck by U.S. air assets. Ras Kamboni is the location of the al Qaeda and Islamic Courts comminications and training base. "Bankajirow was the last Islamist holdout. Bankajirow and Badmadowe were hit hardest," according to Reuters' Somali source. There is no word if AC-130 gunships or attack helicopters conducted the strike.
The wires services are reporting that Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was killed in the strikes. Fazul is al Qaeda's operations chief responsible for planning the the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as the 2002 carbombing attack in Kenya and missile attack on an Israeli airliner. "I have received a report from the American side chronicling the targets and list of damage," Abdirizak Hassan, the Somali president's chief of staff, told The Associated Press. "One of the items they were claiming was that Fazul Abdullah Mohammed is dead." This has not been confirmed by the U.S. government. As we noted on January 8, the U.S. will need to secure the attack site to obtain DNA and other forensic evidence to confirm the identity of those killed in the attack.
Yemen is attempting to seal its coastline "in an effort to discourage armed human traffickers from bringing illegal immigrants to Yemen." "Several contingents of Yemeni navy forces were deployed to the Red Sea to tighten the security," reports Shabelle. Yemen has a small, antiquated navy consisting largely of patrol boats.
In Mogadishu, the Somali governemnt is working to reestablish securty. A joint Ethiopian and Somali force is sweeping neighborhoods near Ethiopian barracks after a drive-by RPG and small arms killed three and wounded six. Somali forces also dismantled militia roadbocks in the capital, and arrested 11. Militias use the roadblocks to extort the local poulation. South of Mogadishu, Ethiopian and Somali troops deployed to the town of Beerhaano to break up fighting between rival clans.
See The Rise & Fall of Somalia's Islamic Courts: An Online History for additional information on Somalia.