U.S. airstrike in Somalia targets unnamed AQ leader? Update: "Confident" target was hit

A blast from the past.

Pentagon officials say the United States launched an air strike in Somalia to go after a terrorist suspect.

In the strike early Monday, Somali police said three missiles hit a Somali town held by Islamic extremists, destroying a home and seriously injuring eight people.

A Pentagon official said the U.S. military was going after an al-Qaida suspect in the town. As yet, there is no word on whether the suspect was hit.

Who were they after? Revisit this post, about the (unsuccessful) U.S. gunship attack on AQ during the Ethiopian/Somali conflict in January 2007, for a list of four or five names, among whom you’ll find the masterminds of the Kenya and Tanzania embassy bombings. The prize catch is Fazul Mohammed, who was initially suspected dead in the gunship attack and now may be in Madagascar. Bush has reportedly been pushing for a renewed effort to get Osama before he leaves office; this is probably of a piece with that, to catch as many big fish he can find that are still in the sea. My Machiavellian side wonders too if this isn’t some sort of message that the U.S. is willing to intervene in areas other than the Middle East, including alongside a proxy during a hot war. Anyone out there right now who might benefit from that message?

Exit question: Krauthammer was on Fox yesterday afternoon speculating that Ahmadinejad’s visit to Tehran Baghdad helps Obama politically since it’s a high profile example of a head of state willing to pursue diplomacy with him personally. Does this cut the other way as a gentle reminder that sometimes you need to go cowboy? (Exit answer: Only if the strike succeeded!)

Update: Andy McCarthy wonders if this isn’t in line with the Messiah’s airstrike policy for Pakistan. Of course not: Pakistan is where all the “real” terrorists are, unlike the fake terrorists in Somalia and Iraq.

Update: Typo above corrected!

Update: Whoever it was, sounds like they got him:

U.S. forces struck an Al Qaeda training camp in Southern Somalia Monday and officials say they’re confident the military hit the intended target, FOX News has confirmed.

Planes fired at least one precision guided missile at the Somali town of Dobley, a senior U.S. defense official told FOX News…

U.S. officials at Central Command said the overnight strike targeted less than 20 Al Qaeda terrorists. They were assessing the damage done by the attack Monday, and said they’d know more about its success later in the day.

A big cheese from the Islamic forces was in town to mediate between fighters so presumably the target was there for the same reason.

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