US launches cruise missile attack on Somalia

A US submarine fired three Tomahawk cruise missiles into southern Somalia March 3, aiming at what the Defense Department called terrorist targets. The missiles hit the town of Dobley, five miles from Somalia’s border with Kenya, partly destroying a house and injuring local residents. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said it was a “deliberate and precise strike” aimed at “a known al-Qaeda terrorist.” Residents reached by telephone told the New York Times three civilians were wounded, and three cows and donkey killed.

The Times said the strike was aimed at Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Kenyan wanted by the FBI for questioning in the nearly simultaneous attacks in 2002 on a hotel in Mombasa and an Israeli airliner taking off from there. The UK’s Telegraph said target is believed to have been Hassan Turki, head of the Shebab rebel youth organization, who was present at a meeting of Islamist militants. (NYT, The Telegraph, March 4)

The Mombasa attacks were claimed by al-Qaeda at the time.

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