US 'hunted al-Qaeda' in Somalia

Officials say military was assisted by Ethiopia in strikes against Islamic fighters.

    The USS Eisenhower was deployed specifically for the US mission against al-Qaeda [AP]

    Close partnership


    The extent of US involvement with the Ethiopian military in this campaign is also far more widespread than officials have previously admitted.


    American forces have trained Ethiopian commandos and the Pentagon even re-directed satellites to provide battlefield information to Ethiopian troops, it has been reported.

    This degree of co-operation between the US and Ethiopia came to the fore after June 2006, when Islamic Courts fighters seized Mogadishu.


    A US-Ethiopia mission failed to apprehend
    Faizul Abdullah Muhammed [AP]

    An Ethiopian-led drive to take back the Somali capital began on December 24th.


    'Qualified success'


    Within days the Islamic Courts fighters had fled and were being forced south, where many were quickly rounded up by the Ethiopian military and US special forces.


    At the same time, the interim government was quickly reinstalled in Mogadishu, achieving one of the primary objectives of the operation.


    American officials describe the mission only as a "qualified success" because they failed to capture Faizul Abdullah Muhammed, believed to be a senior al-Qaeda operative.


    Muhammed is believed to be responsible for the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, which left 225 people dead.


    He was initially reported to have been killed in the attacks but the claim was later withdrawn.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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