A Tiny Invasion: U.S. Troops In Somalia After Raid
A small team of American military personnel entered southern Somalia to try to determine exactly who was killed in a U.S. airstrike Monday that targeted suspected al-Qaeda figures thought to be hiding in swampy mangrove forests along the Indian Ocean, U.S. sources said Thursday.
So far, "no one can confirm a high-value target" among the dead, said one U.S. source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. But items recovered at the strike site -- a piece of bloody clothing and a document -- indicated that Aden Ayrow, head of the military arm of the deposed Islamic Courts movement, had been at the scene.
Heavily armed soldiers of the transitional government, which is backed by Ethiopia and the United States, patrol the streets of the chaotic capital, Mogadishu.
Heavily armed soldiers of the transitional government, which is backed by Ethiopia and the United States, patrol the streets of the chaotic capital, Mogadishu. (By Mohamed Sheikh Nor -- Associated Press)
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The strike killed eight to 10 people suspected of terrorist links, according to another source, a high-ranking U.S. official in the region who spoke Thursday and declined to be identified. The people were fleeing with remnants of the Courts movement, which was swept from power last month by invading Ethiopian forces who installed in its place the country's U.S.-backed transitional government.
The search team marks the first known case of U.S. military boots hitting Somalian soil since a disastrous mission to stabilize the country ended in 1994 after Somali militiamen downed two Black Hawk helicopters and killed 18 U.S. soldiers in the capital, Mogadishu. It was unclear Thursday if the search team remained inside Somalia.