US special forces failed to capture a leader of the Islamist group Al Shabaab in the Somali town of Barawe last weekend. The Navy Seals launched a pre-dawn assault on the unnamed man’s compound.
At first US sources reported that one of the architects of last month’s attack on Nairobi had been captured or killed by the same unit that got Osama bin Laden. Later they revised the story.
They had to admit that the unit had been forced to retreat after facing heavy resistance and captured no one. At the same time US special forces captured Abu Anas al-Libi in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
He is a Libyan citizen wanted over the bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. The Libyan government is now in the embarrassing position of explaining whether it authorised the kidnapping of one of its citizens by a foreign power.