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US soldier killed, 4 wounded in attack in Somalia

10 June 2018

'We attacked a military base ... killed one USA soldier, two Kenyan soldiers and nine Somali soldiers from Jubbaland state.

The U.S. special operations forces were fighting alongside about 800 troops from the Somali National Security Forces and Kenyan Defence Forces when they were attacked late on Friday by mortars and small arms fire.

A Kenyan soldier working with the Somali forces being advised by the U.S. team was also wounded in the attack, according to three United States military officials.

Somali officials have said civilians have been killed in more than one joint USA military operation with Somali forces.

The statement does not identify the attackers but says a larger force of Somalian and Kenyan troops were conducting an operation against al-Shabab militants.

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This was the first public announcement of a USA military combat death in Africa since four US service members were killed in a militant ambush in the West African nation of Niger in October. The operation aimed to clear the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab from contested areas.

Last year, a Navy SEAL was killed in a nighttime attack in Somalia, marking the first U.S. military combat death there since the infamous "Black Hawk Down" events of 1993, when 18 American servicemen died in the Battle of Mogadishu.

The New York Times reports that al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Another U.S. service member in Somalia was killed in May 2017 during an operation about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Mogadishu.

U.S. President Donald Trump expressed his condolences to the family of the deceased soldier in a tweet.

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The group used to control most parts of the country, but since 2010, its fighters have been removed from most major towns and cities.

In a statement Saturday, the U.S. Africa command weighed in, saying the service members were being treated in Kenya at the American embassy by medical personnel.

Late past year US drone strikes also began targeting a small presence of fighters linked to the Islamic State group in Somalia's north.

A military official told AFP the dead American was a special operations commando, but further details were not being released pending notification of next of kin.

The attack was described as complex in nature, with the enemy coordinating their fires resulting in one American soldier Killed in Action and five Wounded in Action, which only left half of the team uninjured by the end of the firefight. The Pentagon has carefully monitored the spread of radical Islamic jihad across Africa but insisted that USA troops are there to train and partner with local forces, not necessarily to fight.

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US soldier killed, 4 wounded in attack in Somalia