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Operation Celestial Balance

On Monday 14th September, 2009, a daring daylight operation by the 160th SOAR and other US SOF units took place in Somalia. Africa. Their quarry was Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a terrorist believed to be responsible for the 2002 attacks in Mombasa, Kenya against a hotel and an airliner as well as being involved in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Reports state that at least 4 helicopters, including 2 AH-6 'Littlebirds', operated by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, were involved in the operation, codenamed 'Celestial Balance', which had been launched from a US ship off the Somali coast. It is understood that around 1pm local time, the AH-6s strafed a convoy made up of 2 trucks, carrying Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan plus members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist organization, as it drove along a desert road near the coastal town of Barawe.

Barawe, Somalia (google earth kmz file)

Following the gunship attack, helicopters landed and deposited US SOF (speculated to be Navy SEALs from DEVGRU) onto the ground who moved to the scene of the destroyed convoy where they proceeded to remove a number of bodies, including Mr Nabhan's.

160th soar ah-6j helicopters - carrier takeoff
AH-6 gunships, operated from a ship(s) situated off-shore were thought to have attacked the terrorist convoy before ground units were inserted onto the ground.
photo : US DoD

Related Links :

Navy Seals Kill Wanted Terrorist in Somali Raid
(Fox News report)

U.S. Kills Top Qaeda Militant in Southern Somalia
(New York Times report)

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