Somalia's al Shabaab claims attack in which US soldier diedNaija247news

Special Operations Command
Special Operations Command

11 June, 2018

This was the first public announcement of a USA military combat death in Africa since four US servicemembers were killed in a militant ambush in the West African nation of Niger in October.

US President Donald Trump offered his condolences via Twitter. "They are truly all HEROES", Mr Trump tweeted, misspelling the name of the country.

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

One US service member reportedly received sufficient medical care at the scene and three others were transported out of the area to receive treatment.

Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Conrad, 26, of Chandler, had been supporting Operation Octave Shiel, a joint coalition effort by U.S., Kenyan and Somali soldiers to drive out the al Qaeda-affiliated group, al-Shabab, U.S. defense Department officials said Saturday. US forces provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.

Conrad joined the U.S. Army on June 1, 2010.

They said the militants first set off a series of explosions before targeting the US and Somali forces with heavy gunfire and mortar rounds. 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.

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"We killed 40 Somali soldiers in the base", Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab's military operations spokesman, told Reuters. The al-Shabab group was blamed for the truck bombing in Mogadishu in October that killed more than 500 people and raised concerns about al-Shabab's ability to build ever-larger explosives.

Since being pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011, the group has lost control of most of Somalia's cities and towns, but it retains a strong presence in regions outside the capital.

Associated Press video on Friday showed Somali forces firing weapons from atop pickup trucks in a muddy rural area, and an unidentified USA soldier speaking with local residents.

This is the second US military fatality in Somalia in the a year ago.

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

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

The investigation has already triggered changes in the way military activities are carried out in Niger and elsewhere in Africa, including giving teams the option to use heavily armored vehicles and beefed-up firepower.

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