U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six pulled out during a raid in Somalia to capture suspected Al-Shabaab leader Ikrima when it became clear that he couldn't be taken alive, a senior U.S. official told CNN.
"Their mission was to capture him. Once it became clear we were not going to (be) able to take him, the Navy commander made the decision to withdraw," said the official, who has direct knowledge of the entire Somalia operation but declined to be identified publicly.
The official said the SEALs faced heavy opposition and an intense firefight broke out, leading to the withdrawal.
The mission's aim - to capture Ikrima - is the reason the team went in rather than using a drone to attack the heavily guarded seaside villa, the official said.
Another U.S. official told CNN the Navy SEALs reported seeing children at the compound, part of the reason the mission was stopped during the firefight.