Touching down before dawn, Somali “Lightning” commandos climbed out of U.S. military helicopters and carefully advanced in the dark toward a ramshackle compound tucked into muddy farmland dotted by banana trees.
U.S. surveillance had monitored the site for days after an intelligence tip signaled the location of Moalin Osman Abdi Badil, the suspected leader of a Shabab terrorist cell linked to plots against U.S. forces and their allies in Somalia.
A team of Navy SEALs joined the Somali soldiers as they slipped toward the low-slung buildings, hoping to surprise the militants. But guards heard or spotted the raiders and a fierce firefight lighted up the night.
The Pentagon says the militants killed a Navy SEAL, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, 38; and wounded two other SEALs in the May 5 attack near Barii, about 40 miles west of the capital, Mogadishu.
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Image courtesy of Robert Lang.