TODAY

TODAY   |  October 08, 2013

New details emerge on failed SEALs raid in Somalia

The Navy SEALs' attempted raid of an Al-Shabaab camp was thwarted over the weekend by one man outside the targeted compound who saw them setting up their position resulting in a firefight, officials tell NBC's Richard Engel. The SEALs retreated when fearing civilian deaths.

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>> two terror raids were conducted by u.s. forces this weekend. one landed a high profile al qaeda leader but the other mission didn't workout. our chief foreign correspondence has more details on what went wrong and what they'll get out of the other suspect.

>> the first suspect, the one that was obtained, al libi. he could be held on a warship for days or weeks as he is being interrogated and we're learning muscles details on the other raid, the one that didn't succeed in somalia according to account by several military sources.

>> reporter: it was a daring assault on this beach used by shark fishermen. but it was dark here on saturday when less than two dozen navy s.e.a.l.s approached in a past boat flanked by three support craft. their target, a compound of al shabaab , the terrorist group that last month took over a shopping mall in kenya and killed over 60 hostages over four long days. but when the navy s.e.a.l.s took up their position on the perimeter of the al shabaab compound, a lone man smoking a cigarette spotted them. he ran in like nothing was wrong but then militants ran out shooting and a gun fight broke out. more gunmen and civilian and children flooded into the zone. they retreated.

>> it's tempting to believe that it's a clear and easy solution and it's quick and simple and clean and the reality is there are risks no matter what options we pick. whether it's drones or special operations .

>> reporter: while the al shabaab target from the massacre in nairobi wasn't captured, the pentagon said it demonstrated that the united states can put direct pressure on al shabaab leadership at any time of our choosing. two weekend missions, one resulting in the capture in libya of abu annas al libi. another sending a message, american black ops will come knocking anywhere.

>> potentially he could have a wealth of information.

>> it depends on how much he is saying and how much he is willing to cooperate. they're not likely using these enhanced interrogation techniques. instead he is being investigated and debriefed by the fbi, the cia, u.s. military intelligence. they can't use sleep deprivation. they can use good cop, bad cop , what he knows, who he knows, are there any plots but we don't know if he is talking or not.

>> richard engle, thank you very