Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi speaks at a news conference in Addis Ababa January 10, 2007. Meles said on Wednesday the United States had struck only once in Somali and denied reports that civilians had been killed in the air attack.
None of the top three suspected terrorists in Somalia were killed in a U.S. airstrike this week, but Somalis with close ties to al Qaeda were killed, a senior U.S. official in the region said Thursday.
A day earlier, a Somali official had said a U.S. intelligence report had referred to the death of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, one of the three senior al Qaeda members believed responsible for bombing U.S. embassies in East Africa. But U.S. and Ethiopian troops in southern Somalia were still pursuing the three, the U.S. official said Thursday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.
Earlier this week, police at the Kenyan coastal border town of Kiunga arrested the wives and several children of two of the embassy bombing suspects, according to an internal police report seen by The Associated Press Wednesday. The suspects’ relatives had slipped across the border, according to the report.
Residents on Thursday reported new fighting between Islamic militiamen and Somali and Ethiopian forces.
The fighting early Thursday in southern Somalia set off a brush fire, residents said by two-way radio. There were reports of as many as 35 deaths.
The fighting comes after Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his forces were carrying out mop-up operations against Islamic militants in the extreme southern corner of Somalia and that he expected to withdraw his troops within a few weeks.
It is a shame they have not killed these Al Qaeda thugs but they have their families and are hunting them down like dogs.
In the meantime, the United States is deploying more ships off the coast for more operations.
U.S. and Somali officials said Wednesday a small American team has been providing military advice to Ethiopian and Somali forces on the ground. The officials provided little detail and spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.
Somali officials have said the U.S. had a right to strike, and one even called on America to send in ground troops to help root out al Qaeda extremists and the Islamic militia believed to be sheltering them.
The U.S. Navy has moved additional forces into waters off the Somali coast, where they have conducted security missions, monitoring maritime traffic and intercepting and interrogating crew on suspicious ships.
There were five ships Wednesday: the guided missile destroyer USS Ramage, the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, the guided missile cruisers USS Bunker Hill and USS Anzio, and the amphibious landing ship USS Ashland. Officials said they could use the Ashland as a brig for any captured suspects.
The Islamic Courts have been routed and NO longer pose a threat to Somalia. Again Flap directs the reader to Bill Roggio’s excellent piece on the history of the attempted Islamification of Somalia by the Jihadists and Al Qaeda.
Technorati Tags: Somalia, Ethiopia, EritreaAbuTalhaal-Sudani, GouledHassanDourad, FazulAbdullahMohammed, SalehAliSalehNabhan