DEVGRU - Barawe Operation 2013
On the 5th of October 2013, United States special operations attempted to capture a terrorist in a daring but ultimately unsuccessful raid in Somalia. The commandos were looking for Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, also known as Ikrima, an al-Shabaab terrorist believed to be behind plots to attack government and UN targets in Kenya.
At around 2am local time, residents in the Somali Coastal town of Barawe awoke to the sounds of gunfire. Not long before, SEALs from DEVGRU, popularly known as SEAL Team 6, had come ashore from the Indian Ocean via a single fast boat, with several other boats acting in support.
The DEVGRU operators moved inland towards the 2-storey beach side house believed to hold their target. The group of SEALs, reportedly no larger than 24 men, approached the house, taking up positions in and around the compound. As the SEALs prepared to make entry, they were spotted by a lone al-Shabaab fighter, who opened up with automatic gun fire. A fierce battle ensued as multiple al-Shabaab fighters also opened fire. While some SEALs engaged the militia gunmen, others pressed home the assault, hurling flash bang grenades ahead of them as they made their way into the building. The al Shabaab fighters put up strong resistance as the DEVGRU fire teams moved from room to room.
According to some sources, the SEAL entry teams were surprised by the number of women and children inside the building. The risk to civilian life was one of the factors that led to the decision to abort the operation. The level of resistance displayed by the al-Shabaab fighters also meant that the odds of being able to capture Ikrama alive were now small. In the meantime, the overall situation was deteriorating. Al-Shabaab reinforcements from nearby houses had started to engage the SEALs holding the perimeter outside.
The SEALs then fought a fighting withdrawal to the beach, where they boarded the waiting boats and disappeared into night. In the confusion of the withdrawal, the SEALs left several items behind. These include a flak jacket, flash bang grenade, rounds of 5.56mm and 4.7mm ammunition and a Garmin GPS device. Blood was also reportedly also found indicating that at least one of the SEALs have been injured and those items had been discarded during treatment. No SEALs were killed during the attack, which had left several al-Shabaab fighters dead.
Simultaneous to the Somali raid, in an unrelated operation, DEVGRU's Army counterparts, Delta Force, successfully captured an Al Qaeda suspect from the streets of the Libyan capital, Libya.
Exclusive: How the SEAL raid on Somalia went bad
(NBC News report)
How the US raid on al-Shabaab in Somalia went wrong