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Obama's first Somalia strike hits Al Qaeda suspect

US commandos killed Kenyan national Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in a helicopter raid against Mr. Nabhan's convoy, as it traveled through the Barawe district in southern Somalia.

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The killing of an accused senior Al Qaeda militant in Somalia yesterday could help to sever Al Qaeda's link to militants taking refuge in Somalia. But it could also stir up more unrest in a country that is already fighting a low-level civil war, pushing Islamist militants toward retaliation against what they perceive to be American targets, including the weak, Western-backed Somalian government.

US commandos killed Kenyan national Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in a helicopter raid against Mr. Nabhan's convoy, as it traveled through the Barawe district in southern Somalia. Nabhan has been on the US wanted list since 1996, when he was accused of helping to bomb the US embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania, and is thought to be the mastermind in a truck-bomb attack on an Israeli-owned hotel in Mombasa in 2002.

There are no reports yet indicating whether the helicopter attack caused civilian casualties, but Islamist militias in Somalia allied with Al Qaeda have vowed to retaliate.

"Muslims will retaliate against this unprovoked attack," a leader of Al Shabab, a Somali Islamist militia told the AFP news agency today. "The United States is Islam's known enemy, and we will never expect mercy from them, nor should they expect mercy from us."

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