2009 Baraawe raid

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2009 Baraawe raid
Part of Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa
Date 14 September 2009
Location Baraawe, Somalia
1°06′48″N 44°01′49″E / 1.11333°N 44.03028°E / 1.11333; 44.03028Coordinates: 1°06′48″N 44°01′49″E / 1.11333°N 44.03028°E / 1.11333; 44.03028
Result Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan killed
 United States al-Qaeda
Casualties and losses
None 6 killed

The Baraawe raid, code named Operation Celestial Balance, was a helicopter assault by United States Special Operations Forces against the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan and associated al-Shabaab militants near the town of Baraawe in southern Somalia.


Nabhan had been wanted by the United States since 2006 in connection to several terrorist attacks in East Africa, including the 1998 United States embassy bombings and the 2002 Mombasa attacks.[1] In 2007, in the midst of the Battle of Ras Kamboni, Nabhan was unsuccessfully targeted by an American military airstrike in the town of Ras Kamboni.[2][3]


To avoid collateral damage the United States chose to use a special operations team to target Nabhan rather than launching a missile attack as they did in the Dobley airstrike.[4] He was seen traveling in a two-car convoy from the southern coastal town of Barawe, which is controlled by al-Shabab. This was seen to be the best opportunity to target him as he would be away from civilian population. US Army Special Forces launched from a U.S. naval vessel offshore in AH-6 Little Bird Helicopters. Once the helicopters had reached the target location in which the convoy had stopped for breakfast, the helicopters or the occupants opened fire on the convoy killing Nabhan and three other militants.[5]

At least one helicopter landed briefly dropping off a small US Navy SEAL Team, to recover Nabhan's body and bring two other wounded militants back to their ship.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Profile: Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan". BBC News. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  2. ^ Mohamed, Guled (2007-01-09). "'Many dead' in U.S. strike at al Qaeda in Somalia". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  3. ^ "Somali raids miss terror suspects". BBC News. 2007-01-11. Retrieved 2013-10-05. 
  4. ^ "US forces kill militant leader in Somalia". The Boston Globe. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Raid killed top Somali Qaeda member". Al Arabiya. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Al Qaeda Death a Blow to Terror Group". CBS News. 16 September 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2011.