Airstrikes from US helicopter gunship on AQ in Somalia

Posted by: ST on January 8, 2007 at 7:42 pm


(CBS/AP) A U.S. Air Force gunship has conducted a strike against suspected members of al Qaeda in Somalia, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports exclusively.

The targets included the senior al Qaeda leader in East Africa and an al Qaeda operative wanted for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa, Martin reports. Those terror attacks killed more than 200 people.

The AC-130 gunship is capable of firing thousands of rounds per second, and sources say a lot of bodies were seen on the ground after the strike, but there is as yet, no confirmation of the identities.

The gunship flew from its base in Dijibouti down to the southern tip of Somalia, Martin reports, where the al Qaeda operatives had fled after being chased out of the capital of Mogadishu by Ethiopian troops backed by the United States.

Once they started moving, the al Qaeda operatives became easier to track, and the U.S. military started preparing for an air strike, using unmanned aerial drones to keep them under surveillance and moving the aircraft carrier Eisenhower out of the Persian Gulf toward Somalia. But when the order was given, the mission was assigned to the AC-130 gunship operated by the U.S. Special Operations command.

If the attack got the operatives it was aimed at, reports Martin, it would deal a major blow to al Qaeda in East Africa.

Get ’em boys! In other Somalia news:

Meanwhile, a jungle hideout used by Islamic militants that is believed to be an al Qaeda base was on the verge of falling to Ethiopian and Somali troops, the defense minister said Monday.

While a lawmaker had earlier told The Associated Press that the base was captured, Somalia’s Defense Minister Col. Barre “Hirale” Aden Shire said troops had yet to enter it and that limited skirmishes were still ongoing, though troops were poised to take the base.

Ethiopian soldiers, tanks and warplanes were involved in the two-day attack, a government military commander told the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Hat tip: Mary Katharine Ham, guest blogging at Michelle Malkin’s.

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  • 13 Responses to “Airstrikes from US helicopter gunship on AQ in Somalia”


    1. NC Cop says:

      But, but, that might make them mad at us!!! How could we do such a thing!!! It’s just going to create more terrorists!!!


    2. Severian says:

      The AC-130 isn’t a helicopter, it’s a 4 engine turboprop transport plane loaded with 20 mm mini-cannon, 40 cannon, and a 105 mm howitzer. They can put a serious serious hurtin’ on something. They can loiter up out of sight and sound and survey the battlefield with their infrared and other sensors, then come in and blast pinpoint targets to hell and back as well as saturate area targets.

      This is the kind of mission this plane is ideal for, and it’s good to hear they are making good use of it. This plane absolutely scares the pants off our enemy.

    3. Severian says:

      Some of the news reports have it as a helicopter still. Wish more reporters paid attention to the military.


    4. NC Cop says:

      I want one!!!!!!!!!!!

    5. TomR says:

      The AC-130 is the grandson of Spooky, the AC-47 I saw work so well in Vietnam.

      Now, if we just had the fortitude to use an AC-130 on Sadr city in Iraq.

    6. Steve Skubinna says:

      Not only is the AC-130 a fixed wing aircraft (which should have been obvious to the media reporting this – Army and Marines fly helicopter gunships, but not the USAF) but it’s one of the weapon systems denied to troops in Somalia by Clinton.

      You know, when we got our noses bloodied and brave stalwart Slick Willie got blisters on his feet hightailing out of there. And somehow giving bin Laden and his ilk the idea that Americans are wussies.

    7. Steve Mitcham says:

      Here’s a picture of one. Doing a google search of AC-130 will get some pretty good shots in the image search section.