Navy SEALs free 2 Western hostages in Somalia
US Navy SEALs from SEAL Team Six conducted a successful nighttime raid in Somalia to free an American woman and a Danish man being held by kidnappers in Somalia. From the BBC:
Two foreign aid workers kidnapped in Somalia three months ago have been freed in a rare US military raid.
US officials have confirmed that elite US Navy Seals were dropped into Somalia to carry out the overnight operation which resulted in a shoot-out.
The two hostages were freed uninjured, although nine of their captors are said to have been killed. No casualties have been reported among US forces.
The hostages - a US woman and a Danish man - were seized on 25 October.
BBC Security correspondent Frank Gardner says Wednesday's rescue is the highest profile US action in Somalia since it pulled its forces out of the country in 1994.
I'd disagree with the BBC correspondent that this is the "highest profile US action in Somalia" since 1994. There are three other times when US personnel are known to have taken direct action in Somalia in the past five years. First, US forces (CIA and special operations forces) are known to have engaged the Islamic Courts Union several times in late 2006 and early 2007 when the Ethiopians invaded Somalia in December 2006.
Second, a US Navy warship and US personnel targeted al Qaeda leader Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in June 2007 off the coast of Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland. After the USS Chafee opened fire on their speedboats, 35 Islamic Courts fighters were killed.
Third, US special operations forces killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in September 2009 during a daring helicopter raid in the southern Somali town of Barawe. Nabhan's body was recovered during the raid.
Additionally, US conventional aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (the Predator and Reaper drones) as well as sea-launched cruise missiles have been used to target Islamic Courts and Shabaab targets since 2006. The Long War Journal counts nine such incidents, including the two mentioned above. Just last weekend, the US killed Bilal al Berjawi, a senior al Qaeda and Shabaab commander, in a Predator strike south of Mogadishu.