1 service member, 2 contractors killed in al-Shabaab attack: Pentagon

The Defense Department confirmed Sunday afternoon that a service member and two U.S. contractors were killed in a terror attack on a Kenyan airbase used by U.S. troops.

The attack on a Kenya Defense Forces military base in Manda Bay by the East Africa-based al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab also wounded two Pentagon personnel, both of whom are currently in stable condition, according to United States Africa Command. The Pentagon added that the names of the dead and wounded will be withheld as part of next-of-kin notification.

“As we honor their sacrifice, let’s also harden our resolve. Alongside our African and international partners, we will pursue those responsible for this attack and al-Shabaab who seeks to harm Americans and U.S. interests,” U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command, said in the statement.

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“We remain committed to preventing al-Shabaab from maintaining a safe haven to plan deadly attacks against the U.S. homeland, East African, and international partners,” Townsend added.

The attack, according to U.S. Africa Command, involved “indirect and small arms fire” and damaged six contractor-operated civilian aircraft.

“The work that our U.S. forces are doing in East Africa bolsters partnerships, counters malign influence, and maintains critical pressure on terrorist networks,” Townsend added. “Our efforts directly contribute to counterterrorism, maritime surveillance, and intelligence sharing missions with our Kenyan partners. This activity enables enhanced security and stability in the region and for America.”

U.S. Africa Command initially reported the attack Sunday morning, saying only that it had been successfully repelled and that al-Shabaab’s claims to have inflicted casualties were exaggerations, with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, U.S. Africa Command director of operations, saying the group “resorts to lies, coercion and the exertion of force to bolster their reputation to create false headlines.”