The target of the Somalia operation was a man known as Ikrimah, a Kenyan of Somali descent, who is associated with a pair of al Qaeda operatives who were involved in the dual 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, a senior U.S. official said. Al-Shabab, an al Qaeda-allied Islamist group based in Somalia, most recently claimed responsibility for last month’s massacre in Kenya’s Westgate mall.

Though not a household name, Ikrimah was apparently seen as a valuable enough adversary to send in the elite SEAL team, as one military officer noted Saturday, before Ikrimah was named.

“When we put boots on the ground, it is only for an important target,” said the military officer, who is familiar with the raid.