Somalia attack sends message, WH says

Jan. 9, 2007 at 3:01 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- The U.S. air attack on suspected al-Qaida members in Somalia earlier this week underscored U.S. determination to hit al-Qaida and its supporters anywhere in the world, the White House said.

"... Without talking about military issues, it is pretty clear that this administration continues to go after al-Qaida," White House spokesman Tony Snow said Tuesday. "We are interested in going after those who have perpetrated acts of violence against Americans, including bombings of embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and we will continue to conduct whatever operations we can to go after that.

"We've made it clear that this is a global war on terror, and this is a reiteration of the fact that people who think that they're going to try to establish safe haven for al-Qaida anyplace need to realize that we're going to find them."

A U.S. AC-130 gunship on Sunday attacked suspected al-Qaida members and their Islamist militia companions in southern Somalia, near the Kenyan border, who were apparently fleeing Ethiopian troops who had earlier routed the Islamic Courts Union militia on behalf of Somalia's Transitional Government.

The Transitional Government had earlier been ousted from the capital, Mogadishu, by the Islamist coalition that was said to have included members of al-Qaida.

Among those believed killed in the U.S. strike Sunday was Tariq Abdullah -- aka Abu Talha al-Sudani -- an explosives expert and close associate of Gouled Hassan Dourad, who once headed al-Qaida's cell in Somalia.

Abdulla/Sudani is believed to have helped arrange al-Qaida financing for the 1998 bombings of U.S. diplomatic missions in Kenya and Tanzania.

Snow declined to speak about the military operation itself, which was believed launched from U.S. facilities in Djibouti.

Reports said the attack was a result of Ethiopian and Kenyan intelligence information.

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