A week after gunmen kill 23 U.N. peacekeepers, Clinton takes action and orders punishing raids in Somalia

The first attack was swift -- and expected. After days of blatant preparations, at 9 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, two AC-130H Spectre gunships and American Cobra attack helicopters thundered over Mogadishu on a mission of retaliation for the killings, one week earlier, of 23 United Nations peacekeepers. For the next several hours, flares and tracer bullets lit the predawn skies of the Somali capital as the aircraft pummeled six sites of strategic importance to the country's paramount warlord, Mohammed Farrah Aidid. U.S. forces hit Aidid's radio station, four weapons and ammunitions dumps, and an abandoned cigarette factory that had been...

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