A gun battle with an Islamic extremist group in Somalia Friday left one American special operations forces soldier dead and four others wounded, defense officials revealed.
The American service members who were killed and wounded in the battle came under small arms and mortar fire Friday near the town of Jamaame while on a training mission with local Somali forces, The New York Times and CNN reported, citing a handful of defense officials. The four who were wounded were medevaced out, but their condition remains unknown.
Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate, claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. There are around 500 U.S. troops in Somalia combating al-Shabaab, an Islamic terror group against which the U.S. has been waging war for years. Prior to Friday’s battle, al-Shabaab troops reportedly overran the Somali National Army base near Baidoa and ambushed Somali soldiers in Mogadishu.
The fatal firefight follows the death of Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken, the first U.S. service member to be killed in Somalia since the 1993 Black Hawk Down incident. (RELATED: US Identifies Navy SEAL Killed In Firefight With Al-Qaida In Somalia)
The last death is the first U.S. combat casualty in Africa since the deadly ambush in Niger last October that ended the lives of four American soldiers, their interpreter, and four Nigerien service members.
News of fatalities in Somalia comes as the U.S. is trying to reduce its military presence in Africa to focus on great power competition with countries like China and Russia.
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