A night-time raid on the Somali coast struck at a stronghold of terrorist group al-Shabaab. The group allege that the SAS were involved and that one SAS officer died in the fight.
“Western” commandos, some allegedly British, raided a Somali village in the early hours of Saturday killing one man, reports from Somalia say.
Barawe on the coast south of Mogadishu, was attacked under cover of darkness, with a gunbattle lasting for about an hour. Barawe is known as a stronghold of Al-Shabaab, the terrorist group responsible for the killing of 67 in the Nairobi shopping centre two weeks ago.
One man, an al-Shabaab solider of unknown importance, is reported to be dead.
“Westerners in boats attacked our base at Barawe beach and one was martyred from our side,” Abu Musab, spokesman for al Shabaab’s military operations, told Reuters.
“No planes or helicopters took part in the fight. The attackers left weapons, medicine and stains of blood, we chased them,” he said.
“Although we both exchanged grenades, the attackers had silencer guns, so the weapons heard were ours,” he said.
Mr Musab also claimed that one of the attackers was killed by the Somali fightback, and that the dead man was a British SAS commando. Four other British soldiers were injured, he said. This is strongly denied by British authorities who say that British forces were not involved in this raid in any way.
Somali sources also allege that French and Turkish special forces were involved, though authorities in both these nations have denied they were involved in the raid.
The raid would be the first hit back against Somalia after Al-Shabaab, a Somali based terror group claimed responsibility for the killing spree in a Nairobi shopping mall of Westgate.
Western navies patrol the sea off Somalia – mired in conflict for more than two decades – and have in the past launched strikes on land from warships.
Al Shabaab were driven out of Mogadishu in late 2011 and are struggling to hold on to territory elsewhere in the face of attacks by Kenyan, Ethiopian and African Union forces trying to prevent Islamist militancy spreading out from Somalia. Al Shabaab wants to impose its strict version of sharia, or Islamic law, across the Horn of Africa state.