US service member killed in Somalia

US service member killed in Somalia
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A U.S. service member has been killed and four others injured in Somalia, the U.S. military confirmed Friday.

"During an operation June 8, 2018, in Jubaland, Somalia, one U.S. Special Operations member was killed and four U.S. service members and one partner force was wounded as the result of an enemy attack," U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the service members."


President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: 'White supremacists pose a threat to the United States like any other terrorist group' National Enquirer paid 0,000 for Bezos texts: report Santorum: Trump should 'send emails to a therapist' instead of tweeting MORE tweeted his condolences to the family of the slain soldier on Friday night.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of our serviceman who was killed and his fellow servicemen who were wounded in Somolia [sic]. They are truly all HEROES," he wrote.

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

That incident caused a firestorm in Washington as lawmakers demanded answers on the operation and the larger U.S. mission in Africa. An investigation into the Niger ambush concluded last month that it resulted from multiple failures.

In Somalia, U.S. forces working alongside Somali National Security Forces and Kenyan Defense Forces came under attack from mortar and small arms fire at about 2:45 p.m. local time, Africom said.

One of the injured U.S. service members was treated in the field, while the three other injured U.S. troops and injured partner troop were medically evacuated for further treatment, according to the statement.

Africom withheld the names of those killed and injured until next of kin is notified.

The statement does not specify who carried out the attack, but reports say the al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab is suspected.

Al Shabaab claimed Friday it mounted a “fierce attack” on a joint U.S.-Somali base near the city of Kismayo, killing or injuring five Americans, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

The 800-person Somali and Kenyan forces had been conducting a multi-day operation about 350 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu 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, according to the Africom statement.

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

The mission, the statement added, was "specifically designed" to bring Somali government services to those living under al Shabaab control.

"The population in the region had historically supported the government, and the Somali forces had prepared for this mission by coordinating heavily with and securing the support of local authorities ahead of time," the statement said.

U.S. forces have been working with the Somali government to fight al Shabaab for years, but under Trump, airstrikes and ground troops have significantly increased. The United States has roughly 500 troops in Somalia.

In March 2017, Trump granted a request from Africom’s commander to give commanders more authority to conduct airstrikes and raids against al Shabaab without high-level, interagency reviews. Late last year, U.S. forces also launched their first strikes against Somalia’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) affiliate.

Friday’s is the second U.S. military death in Somalia since 1993’s infamous “Black Hawk Down” incident. In May 2017, a Navy SEAL was killed and two American service members were injured during an operation against al Shabaab.

– Updated at 10:30 p.m.