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U.S. may have killed al Qaeda target in Somalia, officials say

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Witnesses say at least two people were killed in Monday's attack
  • U.S. special operations forces fire on car from chopper in Somalia, U.S. officials say
  • Senior al Qaeda operative believed to be among those killed, officials say
  • Officials: Man tied to '98 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya, Tanzania
From Barbara Starr
CNN Pentagon Correspondent
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(CNN) -- U.S. special operations forces raid in Somalia on Monday may have killed a wanted al Qaeda terrorist, U.S. officials said.

The FBI has this photo of Saleh ali Saleh Nabhan on its Web site.

The FBI has this photo of Saleh ali Saleh Nabhan on its Web site.

The U.S. unit used a helicopter to fire on a car in southern Somalia, killing several people, including one the U.S. military believes was Saleh ali Saleh Nabhan, a senior al Qaeda operative. Nabhan has been tied to several attacks in East Africa, including the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, according to the sources.

He also was wanted by the FBI for questioning in connection with the 2002 suicide bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel and the unsuccessful attack on an Israeli charter jet in Mombasa, Kenya.

The officials who talked to CNN are familiar with the latest information on this incident but did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The helicopter flew from a U.S. Navy warship offshore, one of the sources said. The ship kept watch on the operation and was ready to rescue the U.S. troops if they got into trouble.

The official said the troops landed to take away the body believed to be that of Nabhan for positive identification.

The United States had intelligence that he was in the area, and was monitoring the situation for several days, the sources said.

President Obama signed off on the operation, a senior U.S. official told CNN's Ed Henry.

Farmers in the southeastern town of Barawe, Somalia, who said they witnessed the assault, said a number of helicopters attacked a car and its occupants and that at least two people died. They said some helicopters landed and that some of the injured or dead were pulled into at least one helicopter.

Farahan Ali Mohamoud, minister of disarmament for Somalia's transitional federal government, confirmed to CNN that there was an attack in Barawe.

All About SomaliaAl QaedaBarack Obama

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