Army identifies US soldier killed in Somalia

Army identifies US soldier killed in Somalia
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The U.S. Army on Saturday identified the American soldier killed in a firefight with al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab militants as Staff Sgt. Alexander Conrad. 

Conrad was killed on Friday, while four other soldiers were wounded in an operation against the militant group. 

The Army said Conrad was attached to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Airborne, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Conrad was a human intelligence, noncommissioned officer, according to Reuters.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE offered his condolences to Conrad's family on Friday via Twitter. 

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"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of our serviceman who was killed and his fellow servicemen who were wounded in Somalia. They are truly all HEROES," Trump said in a tweet. 

The soldier's death marked the first U.S. combat death in Africa since last year’s ambush in Niger left four U.S. soldiers dead.

U.S. Africa Command said the soldier and U.S. special operations forces were with about 800 Somali and Kenyan troops as part of an operation to clear al Shabaab from contested areas, liberate villages from the terrorist group and establish a permanent combat outpost to increase the reach of the Somali government. 

Africom said the U.S. provided "advice, assistance, and aerial surveillance during the mission." 

U.S. forces have been coordinating with the Somali government to fight al Shabaab for years, but the Trump administration has increased airstrikes and ground troops significantly. 

There are currently around 500 U.S. troops in Somalia.