The Pentagon confirmed an attack on Somalia yesterday, but offered no details until this morning, confirming it was a drone attack with several Hellfire missiles fired along the southern Somali coast. Perhaps even more interesting, President Obama is said not to have given specific authorization for the attack.
The Pentagon says they had “actionable intelligence” that Godane was in the area, and that this was the reason for the strike, and that President Obama had authorized any attacks the Pentagon might want to launch that might hit Godane, so they didn’t need a “permission slip” for this one.
The number of people were killed, though the Pentagon so far suggests they haven’t identified any of the slain, and can’t confirm if the intended target, Ahmed Abdi Godane, a top al-Shabaab leader, was even present.
Pentagon officials expressed hope that Godane was killed, and that maybe some other al-Shabaab leaders are among the totally unknown victims of the strike. As with so many other drone strikes targeting “leaders” of various factions, the US seems to just lob missiles into the general direction of some people and then cross its fingers that it hit what it meant to.