Continuing our Somalia coverage, more breaking news that U.S. helicopter gunships are attacking Al-Qaeda militants today. Apparently we are escalating our involvement in Somalia, and who thinks that is a bad thing?

Today the United States military is exercizing some of the demons remaining from the Black Hawk Down travesty almost fifteen years ago. Go boys.

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Helicopter gunships attacked suspected al-Qaida fighters in the south Tuesday after U.S. forces staged airstrikes in the first offensive in the African country since 18 American soldiers were killed there in 1993, witnesses said.

On Monday, at least one U.S. AC-130 gunship attacked Islamic extremists in Hayi, 30 miles from Afmadow, and on a remote island 155 miles away believed to be an al-Qaida training camp at the southern tip of Somalia next to Kenya. Somali officials said they had reports of many deaths. The
Pentagon confirmed the strike, but declined to comment on any details.

The U.S. is targeting Islamic extremists, said the Somali defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. Earlier, Somalia’s president said the U.S. was hunting suspects in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, and had his support.

The Islamic extremists are believed to be sheltering suspects in the embassy bombings, and American officials also want to make sure the militants will not longer pose a threat to Somalia’s U.N.-backed transitional government.

The assault was based on intelligence “that led us to believe we had principal al-Qaida leaders in an area where we could identify them and take action against them,? said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, without confirming any details. “We’re going to remain committed to reducing terrorist capabilities where and when we find them.?

The full story is here.

And laughably but to nobody’s surprise, new U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has
expressed concern about the United States military killing Al Qaeda terrorists in Somalia.

“Notwithstanding the motives for this reported military action, the secretary-general is concerned about the new dimension this kind of action could introduce to the conflict and the possible escalation of hostilities that may result,” spokeswoman Michele Montas said.

He urged the government to seek political reconciliation, called for the speedy deployment of African peacekeepers, and welcomed Ethiopia’s statement it intends to withdraw its forces “expeditiously.”

HA! Some things just never change!

I’m going to open a very special bottle of wine tonight and toast our fine men and women in uniform.

And more details are just coming out:

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Attack helicopters strafed suspected al-Qaida fighters in southern Somalia on Tuesday, witnesses said, following two days of airstrikes by U.S. forces — the first U.S. offensives in the African country since 18 American soldiers were killed here in 1993.

In Washington, a U.S. intelligence official said American forces killed five to 10 people in an attack on one target in southern Somalia believed to be associated with al-Qaida. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the operation’s sensitivity, said a small number of others present, perhaps four or five, were wounded.

Roundup: Wizbang, Stop the ACLU.

[tags]somalia, air+strikes, black+hawk, u.s., military, al+qaeda, un, united+nations, response[/tags]