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October 8, 2013

U.S. Military Raids Two Terror Suspects in Africa


The U.S. military raided two locations in Africa over the weekend, hoping to capture two terrorist leaders wanted in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed more than 220 people.

Elite Delta Force commandos swarmed a car in Tripoli, Libya, snatching al-Qaida leader Abu Anas al-Libi, and are reportedly now interrogating him on the USS San Antonio. Instead of facing trial in Libya, which his family prefers, al-Libi could face a federal trial in New York, where he was indicted in 2000, for the embassy bombings and other crimes.

The other raid occurred in the town of Barawe in southern Somalia, where the U.S. Navy’s elite Seal Team 6 tried to capture a senior leader of al-Shabab, the terrorist group who claimed responsibility for the recent attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that killed 67 people. However, after the SEALs ran into a hail of gunfire, they had to retreat without their man.

The al-Shabab leader, known as Ikrimah, is accused in the ’98 embassy bombings and in attacks on an Israeli hotel and airline in Kenya in 2002.

Despite the failure to catch Ikrimah, Secretary of State John Kerry said the raid still sends a message.

“The United States of America will never stop in its effort to hold those accountable who conduct acts of terror, and those members of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations literally can run, but they can’t hide,” he said.

Warm up questions
  1. Name some ways that the U.S. fights the war on terrorism both at home and abroad. Are there any methods you don’t support? Which methods do you think are the most effective?
  2. What do you know about al-Qaida and al-Shabab? What recent acts of terror have they claimed responsibility for?
  3. The U.S. military has several elite forces of soldiers; can you name them and match the branch of the military they come from?
  4. Can you recall any events in the last two years that they have been used in?
Discussion questions
  1. In what part of the world are Libya and Somalia located?
  2. What risks were involved in the capture of Abu Anas al-Libi? Did the benefits outweigh the risks? Defend your answer.
  3. Do you agree with Secretary of State John Kerry that a powerful message was sent to terrorist organizations regardless that the effort to capture a senior leader of al-Shabab? Defend your answer.
  4. Do you think the strategy of using small groups of elite forces to capture wanted terrorists is an effective one? Explain why or why not.
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