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U.S. forces supported failed French raid in Somalia: Obama

U.S. forces provided "limited support" for a botched French raid in Somalia aimed to free a hostage, President Barack Obama said on Sunday.

In a letter to Congress, Obama said that U.S. forces provided " limited technical support to the French forces" in the latter's raid to rescue a French citizen being held hostage by the al-Qaeda- linked militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia.

Obama said that the U.S. forces took no direct part in the assault, and that U.S. combat aircraft briefly entered Somali airspace to support the operation, during which they employed no weapons.

The president said that he had directed the U.S. forces to support the rescue operation "in furtherance of U.S. national security interests."

Obama is required by the War Powers Resolution to report military adventures abroad to Congress.

France launched the hostage rescue operation on early Saturday morning, trying to free Denis Allex, a secret agent abducted in Somalia in 2009. But the mission went awry, and the French side said that evidence suggested Allex had died, along with at least one French soldier and 17 militants.

[Source: Xinhua, Washington, 13Jan13]

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