Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 15, 2009

Nabhan killed in US operation on the Horn

Filed under: Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Philip J. Palin on September 15, 2009

“One of Africa’s most wanted al-Qaida suspects has been killed in a U.S. raid in southern Somalia, “Mohamed Olad Hassan reports for the Associated Press

“Citing intelligence reports, Abdi Fitah Shawey (deputy mayor for security in the Somali capital) confirmed that Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was killed in Monday’s attack in an insurgent-held town near Barawe, some 155 miles (250 kilometers) south of Mogadishu. U.S. military officials say American forces were involved in the raid… Nabhan is a Kenyan wanted for questioning in connection with the car bombing of a beach resort in Kenya and the near simultaneous attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner in 2002. Ten Kenyans and three Israelis were killed in the blast at the hotel. The missiles missed the airliner.”

“Somalia’s extremist Islamist militia has vowed to avenge the killing of an al-Qaeda leader in a dramatic raid by American special forces,” according to Philip Naughton writing in the Times (London). “US commandos killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in a helicopter raid on his convoy as it travelled through the Barawe district in lawless southern Somalia. US officials said that another foreign militant had been killed and two men captured.”

While I was posting previous Jeffrey Gettleman and Eric Schmitt filed to NYTimes.com with the best round-up yet.

Nabhan had been instrumental in forging links between the Somali nationalist movement al-Shabab and al-Qaeda.  He has also been suspected of seeking to broaden al-Shabab’s anti-Ethiopian and Somali unification  mission.

Over the last several months US intelligence and law enforcement have given significant attention to al-Shabab as a possible source of domestic radicalization in the Somali-American community.

More Background:

FBI background on Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan

BBC profile of Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan

BBC suggests a French connection

Late August AP feature story on al Shabab

Collection of New York Times stories on al Shabab

(Interesting wrinkle, around 7:30 eastern I made several attempts to access the Special Operations Command website www.socom.mil.  It was not accessible.)

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

September 15, 2009 @ 6:55 am

It would be interesting to know what the command and control elements of this highly successful op consisted of? In other words who actually signed off on the SF op? Is this authority delegated? Is that delegation specific to time and place or generic?
Is Somalia listed as a terrorist sponsor state on any formal system? Does the US reserve the right to kill terrorist suspects unilaterally in any foreign country? If so has this authority been reviewed legally and by whom or what organizations? Was this action legal under International Law? Who says so or says NO?
Are we a nation of laws or of men?

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