United States soldier killed in al-Shabab ambush in Somalia

April FrancisJun 11, 2018

According to Maj. Casey Osborne, a spokesman for the Africa Command's Special Operations branch in Germany, the enemy attack was quick, giving the armed reconnaissance aircraft overhead little time to find the militants firing at the Americans.

U.S. President Donald Trump authorized the conducting of airstrikes in Somalia soon after taking office.

He said the attack was in the southern town of Kismayo.

The Trump administration has expanded military operations against extremists in Somalia, including al Shabaab, which was blamed for the truck bombing in Mogadishu in October that killed more than 500 people.

"The US provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission", it said.

Al Shabaab is also fighting to drive out African Union mandated peace keeping force AMISOM.

The multinational force "came under mortar and small-arms fire at approximately 2:45pm Mogadishu time [11:45 GMT], killing one USA service member and injuring four United States service members and one partner force member", the U.S. military's Africa Command said in a statement.

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Another U.S. service member in Somalia was killed in May 2017 during an operation about 40 miles west of Mogadishu. The U.S. had pulled out of the Horn of Africa nation after 1993, when two helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu and bodies of Americans were dragged through the streets. The group was pushed out of the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011 but still controls some regions of the country.

The U.S. military and others have expressed concern about the 21,000-strong AU force's plan to withdraw by 2020 and hand over security responsibilities to Somali forces, saying the local troops are not ready.

The death is the first USA combat death in Africa since an ambush previous year by ISIS-aligned fighters in Niger left four US soldiers dead and prompted questions over whether American troops in the region had proper support.

This is the second USA military fatality in Somalia in the past year.

A Defense Department official told CBS News the attack was by the al Shabaab terror group.

But U.S. military officials said this week that no decision had been made.

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