Military officials say US captured al-Qaeda figure in Libya, but failed to nab al-Shabab leader in Somalia raid.
Al-Shabab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP that commandos had stormed the beach by boat [AP]
A US government source has confirmed that US military forces conducted an operation in Somalia targeting a member of the rebel group al-Shabab, but could provide no further details, Reuters news agency reported.
A second foreign military operation also took place in Libya on Saturday and was aimed at seizing senior al-Qaeda figure Abu Anas al-Liby, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. Al-Liby is wanted by the United States for his alleged role in the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
A US military official told the AP news agency that Navy SEALs conducted the raid at an al-Shabab base in the Somalia coastal town of Barawe, but did not get their target.
Although the Shebab leader was believed to have been killed during the assault, the SEALs had to withdraw before they could confirm the kill, a senior US official told The New York Times.
"The Baraawe raid was planned a week and a half ago," a US security official told Times.
"It was prompted by the Westgate attack," he added, referring to an attack by Shebab gunmen on a Nairobi shopping mall that left 67 people dead during a four-day siege.
A senior Somali government official told the newspaper that "the attack was carried out by the American forces and the Somali government was pre-informed about the attack."
Al-Shabab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP that commandos had stormed the beach by boat, but laid blamed on Britain and Turkey.
"The bungled operation was carried out by white people, who came with two small boats from a larger ship out at sea... one Shebab guard was killed, but reinforcements soon came and the foreigners fled," he told AFP.
"Where the foreigners had been, afterwards we saw lots of blood, so maybe we wounded some."