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U.S. Special-Operations Member Killed in Somalia
10 June 2018, 12:25 | Marta Robbins
BREAKING: US Special Forces attacked in Somalia by Al-Shabab
A U.S. special operations commando was killed and four other servicemembers were injured Friday in Somalia when their patrol was attacked by fighters aligned with the terrorist group al-Shabab, U.S. Africa Command said.
The death is the first USA combat death in Africa since an ambush a year ago by ISIS-aligned fighters in Niger left four US soldiers dead and prompted questions over whether American troops in the region had proper support. The U.S. provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission, the statement said.
A U.S. special operations soldier has been killed and five military personnel - including four American service members - wounded in an "enemy attack" in southwestern Somalia, according to USA officials. "Three U.S. service members and the one partner force wounded were medically evacuated to receive additional treatment".
The US military says its forces operate on an "advise and assist" mission with the Somali National Army. That was believed to be the first death of a U.S. troop in Somalia since the infamous 1993 Black Hawk Down disaster. "Names are being withheld pending next of kin notification".
Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, who heads U.S. Africa Command, said at a Pentagon press conference that he had taken steps to better ensure the safety of U.S. service members in future operations. The US had pulled out of the country after 1993, when two helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu and bodies of Americans were dragged through the streets.
US President Donald Trump offered his condolences via Twitter. The group was blamed for the truck bombing in Mogadishu in October that killed more than 500 people and raised concerns about al-Shabaab's ability to build ever-larger explosives.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of our serviceman who was killed and his fellow servicemen who were wounded in Somolia (sic)", he tweeted. Its fighters continue to attack the bases of a multinational African Union force that remains largely responsible for security as Somalia's fragile central government tries to recover from decades of chaos.
The extent to which US troops are assisting behind the scenes or fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with local troops has become a point of contention, not only in Somalia but also in other parts of the world where USA forces are helping fight extremist groups by backing proxy forces.
US military operations in Africa have come under greater scrutiny since an October 4 ambush by Islamic State militants in the West African country of Niger left four USA soldiers dead.
Hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area south of Mogadishu, Somalia, on February 17, 2011.
Mostly composed of special operators such as Army Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders, the U.S. forces in Somalia have conducted frequent raids and drone strikes on Shabaab training camps throughout Somalia.
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