Somalia's Al Shabaab Claims Attack in Which US Soldier Died


"The combined Somali National Security Forces (SNSF), Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) and USA force came under mortar and small-arms fire at approximately 2:45 p.m. Mogadishu time, killing one US service member and injuring four US service members and one partner force member", said the statement.

Major Hussein Ali, a Somali military officer told Reuters the attack took place at a military base just outside the town of Kismayu in Southern Somalia. The last killing of a US service member in Somalia was in May 2017 during an operation about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Mogadishu.

A helicopter was brought in to evacuate the wounded.

The names of the soldiers have not been released while the USA notifies next of kin.

Al-Shabab quickly claimed responsibility for the attack on Telegram via its Shahada News Agency.

One member of a "partner force" was also wounded in the attack, the military said.

A Navy SEAL was killed in Somalia in May a year ago, marking the first United States military combat death there since the infamous "Black Hawk Down" events of 1993, when 18 American servicemen died in the Battle of Mogadishu.

Alshabaab has intensified its attacks in the month of Ramadan with two other separate attacks launched on Friday night in Wajid in Bakool region and El Wak in Gedo region.

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In El-Wak, near the border with Kenya, the militants raided a local health center for medicine and other supplies. "We also injured four USA soldiers", Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's military operations spokesman, told Reuters on late Friday.

Friday's attack on the U.S.

President Donald Trump in early 2017 approved expanded military operations against al-Shabaab, leading to an increase in US military personnel to more than 500 and the launch of dozens of drone strikes. Earlier Friday, the U.S. Africa Command issued a statement in response to allegations that civilians had been killed in a May 9 operation, saying a "thorough review" found the allegations to be "not credible".

It was the first known U.S. combat death in Africa since an ambush in Niger in October, the New York Times reports.

The statement did not clarify whether the "partner force member" was part of the Somali or Kenyan armed forces.

The U.S. military said its special forces provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.

Friday's attack in Jubaland is likely to put renewed scrutiny on America's counterterror operations in Africa.