January 25th, 2012
11:14 AM ET

Somalia rescue: criminals not terrorists

From Larry Shaughnessy

All nine of the kidnappers were killed in the rescue operation last night in Somalia, a Pentagon spokesman said.

"There were nine criminal suspects who were killed. They were heavily armed and had explosives at the site," said Pentagon spokesman George Little.  "They were not Al Shabab. They were suspected criminals,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

"They were kidnappers, we don't have any indication that they were connected to any terrorist group or idealogical group at that point. We don't have any firm indication that there was a connection to piracy although piracy is nothing more than a crime so I certainly can't rule out the fact that they might have had those kind of connections but nothing to indicate definately that they were,” said Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby.

Read also: The connection to Osama bin Laden

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Filed under: Military • Navy SEALs • Somalia • US Africa Command • USSOCOM
January 25th, 2012
10:29 AM ET

Somalia rescue – new details

The bin Laden connection

By Chris Lawrence:

Pentagon spokesman George Little said the rescue team was comprised of special operations troops from different branches of the military, but Little would not specify what services.  A US official told CNN that among the rescuers were Navy SEALs from the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan last year. The official, who is not authorized to speak to the media and asked not to be named, did not say whether any of the same people were involved in both operations.

"This was very much a joint mission," said Pentagon Spokesman Capt. John Kirby.

By Larry Shaughnessy:  An American special forces raid to rescue two hostages in Somalia was not complete when President Barack Obama said "good job" to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Tuesday night during the State of the Union address, Pentagon spokesman George Little said Wednesday. The American and Danish hostages were safe at that point, but the American assault team was not yet safely out of Somalia, he said.

Panetta went over for a routine meeting in the afternoon at the White House and ended up staying until the State of the Union.  Panetta monitored the operation from the White House and spoke by phone with General Carter Ham, the Commander of US Africa Command, who was running of the operation.

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