Navy SEAL Somalia raid: What went wrong?

Al Shabaab fighter walked into plain view, smoked a cigarette, came back out shooting

Navy SEAL Somalia raid: What went wrong?

In this file photo, hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area some 18 km south of Mogadishu, in Somalia. International military forces carried out a pre-dawn strike Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 against foreign fighters in the same southern Somalia village where U.S. Navy SEALS four years ago killed a most-wanted Al Qaeda operative, officials said. (AP/FILE)

By Matthew Cole and Jim Miklaszewski
NBC News

The team of less than two dozen Navy SEALs from Seal Team 6 huddled in one fast boat and headed toward the Somali shoreline under the cover of darkness in the early hours of Saturday morning. Three more small boats with additional SEALs flanked the assault team’s craft, to provide back-up and assist with the planned extraction of an al Shabaab warlord named Ikrima.

According to multiple U.S. military sources, the lead boat landed, and the assault team hit the beach near the Southern Somali town of Barawe, headed for the fortified seaside compound of their target. U.S. intelligence had determined that Ikrima, one of  two terror suspects targeted by the military in simultaneous raids thousands of miles apart this weekend, planned the terror group’s operations outside of Somalia. 

The SEALs entered the compound and took the positions they had selected based on the intelligence collected in advance of the raid. Then a lone al Shabaab fighter walked out into plain view, smoked a cigarette, and went back inside, one source familiar with the details of the raid said. The fighter played it cool, and gave no indication that he had spotted the SEALs. But he came back out shooting, firing rounds from an AK-47 assault rifle.

Full story: Exclusive: How the SEAL raid on Somalia went bad