The body of a French commando missing after a failed, U.S.-assisted raid Friday to free a French intelligence agent held for three years by Al-Shabaab was displayed in gruesome Twitter images today.
The terrorist taunts come just as the Obama administration plans to hail its progress in Somalia this week in Washington with the first visit of the Horn of Africa country’s new leader.
Paris had warned that their serviceman was believed dead and that the al-Qaeda-linked terror group would be broadcasting the news in the social media format as loved by PR-evolved terrorists as teenagers.
“The commander was deserted by his comrades after a fierce firefight and subsequently captured by the Mujahideen,” Al-Shabaab said in a press release. “HSM paramedic teams arrived at the scene shortly after the firefight had ended and transferred him to a hospital at the base, but he succumbed to his injuries hours later.” The photos don’t show any dressing of wounds, and visible trauma to his face suggests he was beaten.
They claimed the slain Frenchman was leading the rescue operation. “The Mujahideen recovered several weapons and the soldier’s gear from the scene of battle and later also managed to retrieve valuable information from the soldier before his death. The body of the soldier is still within the custody of the Mujahideen.”
The terrorist organization followed by tweeting a series of three photos of the commando’s body, with taunting messages including “François Hollande, was it worth it?” and “A return of the crusades, but the cross could not save him from the sword.”
It appears as if those taking the photos pulled over his collar the silver cross pendant the commando was faithfully wearing on a chain around his neck.
For Washington, though, the U.S.-assisted raid nearly disappeared from thought in the hours after President Obama notified Congress of the military action Sunday evening in accordance with the War Powers Resolution.
“United States forces provided limited technical support to the French forces in that operation, but took no direct part in the assault on the compound where it was believed the French citizen was being held hostage,” Obama wrote.
“United States combat aircraft briefly entered Somali airspace to support the rescue operation, if needed. These aircraft did not employ weapons during the operation. The U.S. forces that supported this operation left Somalia by approximately 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 11, 2013.”
In lieu of a Jay Carney daily press briefing today, Obama stepped out for a news conference dominated by the debt ceiling and gun control. Congressional reaction to the Somalia raid was muted to nonexistent. And the State Department tried to deflect questions to the Pentagon, which didn’t have a briefing today.