Kenya: Al-Shabaab Reveals Names of Fighters Behind US Military Base Attack

NAIROBI (Somaliguardian) – Somalia-based militant group Al-Shabaab revealed names of its fighters, who had carried out a pre-dawn attack at Manda Bay Airstrip on Camp Simba joint US-Kenyan military base on 5 January 2020, just a year after the deadly militant raid.

The Al-Qaeda franchise in the East Africa, has released a new video showing the 5 men, who had launched an attack on Camp Simba US base on the same date its fighters had executed the operation, which it said had been part of ‘Al-Quds will never be judaized’ campaign.

Among the five men were: Moulana Faruq Moulana Alias Ahmed Muhajir from Yemen – who was the commander of the attackers, Abubakar Al-Muhajir from Tanzania and Ali Muhammad Ali Alias Qudama Al-Muhajir from Ethiopia. There were two Somalis among the group whose names were identified by Al-Shabaab as Abdulwali Muhammad Ibrahim “Moalim Omar” and Adam Iman Yusuf.

It was not clear if the attack had been carried out by only the five men who appeared in the Al-Shabaab video, but US media reported at the time that fewer than 20 militants had raided the Airstrip, a figure that has not yet been substantiated.

The timing of the attack coincided with recent Iranian threats of retaliation to target US troops in response to the US assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in the 2020 Baghdad International Airport airstrike. However, Al-Shabaab claimed no link between their decision to attack and to those events, and it asserted the operation had been planned in response to US president Donald Trump’s recognition of Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel.

It was the first time Al-Shabaab targeted US military personnel in Kenya and outside of Somalia.

Armed with rifles and explosives, about a dozen Al-Shabaab fighters destroyed an American surveillance plane as it was taking off and ignited hours-long gunfight on sprawling military base in Kenya that houses United States troops, the New York Times reported. It said by the time Al-Shabaab were done, portions of the airfield were burning and three Americans were dead.

Surprised by the attack, American commandoes stationed at the base took hours to respond and many of the local Kenyan forces, assigned to defend the camp, hid in the grass while other American troops and support staff were corralled into tents, with little protection, to wait out the battle.

Kenya later denied its forces hid in the grass but aerial images obtained by US media showed a number of KDF soldiers keeping themselves out of sight in the lawn as attack by Al-Shabaab militants was in progress and parts of the base were burning.

The raid began with Al-Shabaab attack on the Manda Air Strip targeting a taxiing Havilland Dash 8 surveillance plane with RGPS. Two American contractors flying for L3 Technologies, employed by the US Department of Defense, were killed in this initial attack and a third injured.

In the raid, the militants destroyed six aircraft and land vehicles, along with several fuel tankers. Some of airframes lost included a De Havilland Canada Dash 8 and two helicopters operated by US contractors. The Havilland Dash 8 was in use as a spy plane and was configured for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in the region.

As a result of the significant aircraft losses, AFRICOM admitted that Al-Shabaab had “achieved a degree of success in its attack.”

Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab claimed to have killed 17 American soldiers and 9 members of the Kenyan Defense forces in the attack on Camp Simba base in Kenya’s Lamu County. However, the US military said only 3 Americans were killed in the brazen Al-Shabaab attack.

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