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.
Two secret blitzes. Two high-value targets. Two very different outcomes.
U.S. forces conducted dual raids on northern and eastern coasts of Africa over the weekend in the hunt for two suspected terrorists: Abu Anas al Libi, a suspected al Qaeda operative wanted for the deadly 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa; and an Al-Shabaab foreign fighter commander named Ikrima.
American forces snatched al Libi in the Libyan capital Saturday morning. But 3,000 miles away, the plan to catch Ikrima didn't go as planned. Navy SEALs came under heavy fire during their raid and had to retreat - not knowing whether Ikrima was dead or alive
The State Department is now ordering all U.S. citizens out of Yemen because of terrorist activities there and growing civil unrest.
The embassy in Sana'a is being evacuated, except for essential personnel.
This comes on the heels of emerging details into what was behind a terror threat so specific, and so immediate that officials in this country decided to shut down nearly two dozen embassies and consulates across the Arab world.
“The cascade of warnings and American embassy closures was triggered by an intercepted communication, which is now being revealed as a direct order from Al Qaeda's leader,” reports CNN’s Chris Lawrence reports.
“CNN has learned Ayman al Zawahiri ordered his new deputy in Yemen to basically 'do something,' and launch an attack. That deputy, Nasir al Wuhayshi, is now high on the US target list, along with another Yemeni, Al Qaeda's master bomb-maker Ibrahim al-Asiri.”
This set off extreme measures from Washington.
“On Monday senior Administration officials met to talk about a resurgent Al Qaeda,” Lawrence says.
“US military and intel assets were being re-deployed around the world, in light of the new threat. Special operations teams have been placed on high alert overseas. Drone surveillance has been stepped up, and analysts are collecting more satellite images, trying to pinpoint a target.”
Follow along at CNN.com for developments.
President Obama promising to wind down the War on Terror, and scale back controversial drone attacks. In one of the biggest national security speeches of his administration the president also said he wants to move toward closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay. His speech however was not without controversy.
– CNN's Dan Lothian reports
In a statement issued through her lawyers, Katherine Russell, the widow of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, says she's doing "everything she can" to assist with the terror investigation.
The FBI wants to talk with Russell about her husband, although it appears that they've only been talking with her lawyers so far.
CNN's Chris Lawrence reports from Russell's family home in Kingston, Rhode Island.
The 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban is on her way to Britain for further treatment. Malala Yousufzai has had people around the world praying for her full recovery after the Taliban tried to kill her last week for being an outspoken proponent of the right of Pakistani girls to get an education. The Taliban’s attack on her life sparked outrage in Pakistan and support for young Malala from all over the world.
Malala’s flight is expected to land later this morning. CNN’s Atika Shubert is live in London with more on the young activist’s condition and anti-Taliban rallies in the wake of her attack.
Shubert says there’s still a concern for Malala’s safety. “The Taliban have continued to threaten her. She’s actually been put under armed guard.” However, the decision to transport her to Birmingham, Britain is really about her medical care. Shubert says, “She will be put in a hospital specifically to treat children with severe rehabilitation concerns.” Doctors will try to repair the extensive damage to her neck from a bullet wound, some of the bones in her skull and neurological damage.
This week, CNN is taking an in-depth look at the issues shaping this year's presidential race.
The focus this morning: Terrorism. How would President Obama or Mitt Romney keep America safe? CNN's Suzanne Kelly explains
Peter Brookes, fmr. Deputy Asst. Sec. of State and fmr. CIA officer, weighs in on the attacks on US compounds in Egypt and Libya and whether the attack against US Ambassador to Libya was part of a bigger plot.
(CNN) - A bombing on a bus with Israeli tourists in Bulgaria was likely carried out by a male suicide attacker, the nation's interior minister said Thursday. The attack occurred Wednesday in a parking lot outside Burgas Airport in Bulgaria. Israel has suggested Iran or an Islamic militant group could have been behind it.
"From what we could see on the video cameras ... we identified a person who served as a suicide bomber in this terror attack," Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told Bulgarian National TV.
Another person died from the blast overnight, he said, bringing the death toll to eight. The dead are six Israelis, a Bulgarian bus driver and the suicide bomber. Three people seriously wounded in the attack have been flown to a Sofia hospital, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Thursday. A further 32 wounded people were on their way back to Israel, he said.
The suspect in the attack had a Michigan driver's license, which FBI officials on the scene have identified as fake, Tsvetanov said. As a result, the suspect's identity is "currently unknown," he said, adding that a fingerprint check was being carried out.
This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Elise Labott addresses Israel's claim that Iran is behind the blast in Bulgaria.