Shootout In Mogadishu

As diplomats meet, U.S. forces take the offensive against bandits

MOGADISHU, NO STRANGER TO THE POP-POP OF ISOlated rifle fire, suddenly shook from the thunderous roar of a full-scale military assault. For 20 seemingly endless minutes, U.S. forces directed a massive array of firepower from AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, M1A1 Abrams tanks and amphibious assault vehicles, all aimed at two arsenals controlled by warlord General Mohammed Farrah Aidid in the Somali capital's northwest. The offensive was ostensibly in retaliation for sniper fire at U.S. troops, but the blazing-gun approach carried a clear warning to Somalia's increasingly bold gunmen that they continue to lurk and menace at their peril. Perhaps 21 Somalis...

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