In the ensuing 15-hour battle, 18 U.S. soldiers were killed, and 73 soldiers were wounded. There is no agreed-upon total for Somalian casualties.
The mission drew fury in the U.S. after one American soldier's body was dragged through the streets of Mogadishu while Somalians prodded the corpse. The television images of the incident incited such a fury in Congress that President Clinton was forced to withdraw U.S. forces from Somalia.
Today, top Somali clan leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid is dead. But warlords, chaos and fear still rule the African nation. The city of Mogadishu remains a dangerous place where people struggle to survive daily living, disconnected from the outside world.
The following is Mogadishu today.
Photographs by Peter Tobia