US Navy Seals have carried out a strike against Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda terrorists in Somalia while capturing another high-value militant in Libya in a separate raid, Pentagon officials said on Sunday.
Confirming the highly secretive pre-dawn operation Saturday, a senior US official said it was aimed towards capturing a high value al-Shabaab terrorist leader.
Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda linked Somali outfit had claimed the massacre last month at Nairobi's Westgate Mall, in which more than 60 people were killed.
Not much details were official available, except for an confirmation of the attack.
"I can confirm that Saturday, October 4, US military personnel were involved in a counter terrorism operation against a known Al Shabaab terrorist. We are not prepared to provide additional detail at this time," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, said.
The official said no US personnel were injured or killed.
"US personnel took all necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties in this operation and disengaged after inflicting some Al Shabaab casualties. We are not in a position to identify those casualties," the official said.
The Washington Post said the operation that suggests how worried Washington has become about the threat posed by an organisation that recently launched an attack on a shopping mall in neighbouring Kenya.
In a separate operation in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, known by his alias Anas al-Libi, was detained.
The FBI had offered USD 5 million for his capture and he is under indictment in New York for his role in the bombings.
"It was not immediately known if the two operations were coordinated or even related: While Al Shabaab is affiliated with Al Qaeda, it is not known that al-Libi had any connection with that group or was linked to last month's deadly attack on Nairobi's Westgate Mall," the CNN reported.
Senior US officials said the timing of the two operations were coincidental.
"But coming on the same day, they underscored the importance of counterterrorism operations in North Africa, where the breakdown of order in Libya since the ouster of the Qaddafi government in 2011 and the persistence of the Shabaab in Somalia, which has lacked an effective central government for more than two decades, have helped spread violence and instability across the region," The New York Times said.
Describing Abu Anas, as a bigger prize catch, the officials confirmed he was alive in US custody and is no longer in Libya.
"As the result of a US counterterrorism operation, Abu Anas al-Libi is currently lawfully detained by the US military in a secure location outside of Libya," Little has confirmed.