AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh An unidentified Somali militant.
Members of the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 usually accomplish their objectives. These are guys who executed the daring raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011.
So when they fail, it comes as a bit of a shock to the global military and defense community.
They failed this weekend, in a brazen attempt to capture a key member of Somalia’s al Shebab terror group, and Matthew Cole and Jim Miklaszewski with NBC News have learned some details about what went wrong.
Citing multiple military sources, they report that a team of roughly two dozen SEALs came ashore in the town of Barawe in southern Somalia and took positions around a building. Their mission: to capture a man known as Ikrima, who was believed to be in one of the houses.
Just as they prepared to get their man, however, a lone Somali terrorist came outside to smoke a cigarette.
“The fighter played it cool, and gave no indication that he had spotted the SEALs,” Cole and Miklaszewski write. “But he came back out shooting, firing rounds from an AK-47 assault rifle.”
They reportedly could see their man, Ikrima, through the window of one of the buildings, but as more fighters descended on their position and children intermingled through the crowds, they could do nothing to reach him.
Surrounded and fighting for their lives, the SEALs were left with no option than to call in for air support and fight their way out of there.
In their rush to leave, the SEALs reportedly left some gear behind, remnants of a raid gone wrong, but where they were lucky to escape unscathed.
In a statement, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said of the raid, “While the operation did not result in Ikrima’s capture, U.S. military personnel conducted the operation with unparalleled precision and demonstrated that the United States can put direct pressure on al-Shabaab leadership at any time of our choosing.