A United States Navy SEAL team has targeted a senior leader of the al-Qaida-linked militant group al- Shabab in a daring predawn raid in Barawe, Somalia.
U.S. Defense Department officials say the commandos conducted an operation "aimed at capturing a high value al-Shabab terrorist leader," but they failed to capture him.
Several al-Shabab militants were killed in the firefight but it was not clear if the targeted militant was among them. U.S. officials said no American troops were hurt.
Sources told VOA a top al-Qaida militant working with al-Shabab was the target of the attack, but did not name him.
The raid was in response to an attack on a shopping mall two weeks ago in neighboring Kenya. Al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group, has claimed responsibility for the action, which killed at least 67 people.
The mission, first reported by The New York Times, marks the boldest strike on Somali soil since U.S. commandos killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, an al-Qaida mastermind, near the same town four years ago.
Al-Shabab has vowed to carry out other acts of violence against Kenya, unless Kenya withdraws its forces from Somalia.
Kenyan forces entered Somalia two years ago to help battle the militant group, which has been fighting to turn Somalia into a strict Islamic state.