The Nation (Nairobi)

6 March 2008

Somalia: U.S. Missile Attack Missed Key Target

Nairobi — A US missile strike against the Somali town of Dobley may have missed its target - Kenyan terror suspect Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan.

Security sources also said in Mombasa Wednesday that Mr Nabhan's mobile communication was intercepted by the US Navy, leading to the Sunday attack.

Dobley is near the Kenya-Somalia border.

The Tomahawk missile fired from the sea may have hit when the suspect, born in 1968 in Mombasa, had already left the location, the sources added.

But the police are not ruling out that Mr Nabhan may be among the 20 people wounded in the attack.

Mr Nabhan is a close ally of another wanted terrorist suspect Harun Fazul, and are believed to be always together.

Other sources close to Mr Nabhan said they did not believe he was killed. "I think it's just propaganda to try and find out where he actually is," said one source.

The source said during an earlier attack in southern Somalia, it was announced that Mr Fazul had been killed, but it was later confirmed that he was not even near the vicinity. The Kenya police say both Mr Nabhan and Mr Fazul are wanted for their involvement in the bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on August 7, 1998 where more than 200 people died, while 5,000 others were injured.

They are also wanted for the November 2002 bombing of the Paradise Hotel in Kikambala and the attempted shooting down of Arkia Airliner in Mombasa.

Sunday was not the first time the US was striking at Somalia for their prime targets Nabhan and Fazul.

The super power conducted similar strikes in southern Somalia in January 2007 against al Qaeda targets. Officials later confirmed that they did not believe that they achieved their goal.

The 2007 targets also included members of the Islamic Courts Union, who had been driven out of power in Somalia by Ethiopian-backed Somali troops.

Days before the attack, Mr Fazul's wife and three children were arrested together with Mr Nabhan's wife after they had tried to cross into the Kenyan border.

They have all since been released although several other Kenyans, arrested while trying to flee Somalia after the ouster of Islamic Courts Union (ICU), are still being held in military camps in Ethiopia.

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