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October 7, 2013

Libya bristles at U.S. raid that captured militant

(Continued)

The family returned to Tripoli in 2010 under a rehabilitation program for Islamic militants run by Gadhafi’s son, and al-Libi himself returned in August 2011, amid the uprising that toppled Gadhafi. Since then, al-Libi was not involved with any groups.

“He would go from the house to the mosque, and from the mosque to the house,” Abdullah said. He said his father had hired a lawyer and was trying to clear his name in connection to the 1998 embassy attacks.

In the earlier raid Saturday, the Navy SEAL team targeted a figure from the al-Qaida-linked terrorist group al-Shabab. After landing on shore, the team assaulted a beachside house in the town of Barawe. The team ran into fiercer resistance than expected, and after a 15- to 20-minute firefight in which they inflicted some casualties on the fighters, the unit’s leader decided to abort the mission and the Americans swam away, a U.S officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the raid publicly.

The assault was carried out by members of SEAL Team Six, the same unit that killed bin Laden in his Pakistan hideout in 2011, one senior U.S. military official said.

Little confirmed that U.S. military personnel were involved in a counterterrorism operation against a known al-Shabab terrorist in Somalia, but did not provide details.

The leader of al-Shabab, Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, also known as Ahmed Godane, claimed responsibility for the mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, a four-day terrorist siege that began Sept. 21 and killed at least 67 people. A Somali intelligence official said the al-Shabab leader was the U.S. target.

The raid in Somalia came 20 years after the “Black Hawk Down” battle in Mogadishu, when a mission to capture Somali warlords in the capital went awry after militiamen shot down two U.S. helicopters. Eighteen U.S. soldiers died in the battle, which marked the beginning of the end of that U.S. military mission to try to bring stability to the nation.

Since then, U.S. military intervention has been limited to missile attacks and lightning operations by special forces.

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