A U.S. special operations service member was killed and four other U.S. service members and a partner force service member were wounded as the result of an enemy attack during an operation today in Jubaland, Somalia, U.S. Africa Command officials said.
President Donald Trump paid tribute on Twitter on Friday night, offering "thoughts and prayers" to the families of the soldier who was killed and those who were wounded.
The Somali government is dedicated to restoring peace and stability to the Somali people, and the USA supports those efforts, Africom officials said in the statement, noting that this mission was specifically created to increase the government's ability to provide vital services to innocent civilians living under al-Shabab's rule.
The US said its personnel had provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.
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A "partner force" service member was also wounded, the statement added.
The multinational force "came under mortar and small-arms fire at approximately 2:45 pm Mogadishu time (1145 GMT), killing one USA service member and injuring 4 U.S. service members and one partner force member", the United States military's Africa Command said in a statement.
USA forces have been working with the Somali government to fight the al-Shabab terror group, which has publicly boasted of its alliance with al-Qaeda and has been fighting Somalia's internationally recognized government for control of the country since the militant group was ousted from Mogadishu in 2011 by African Union-led forces. 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 US commando's death on Friday was the US military's first fatality in Africa since four soldiers were killed in ambush in Niger last October.
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But it still has a strong presence in regions around the capital. The group has a history of fighting Somalia's government since the 1990s. 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".
This is the second US military fatality in Somalia in the previous year.
A US Defense official confirmed to media that four American soldiers were injured in the attack.
Somali officials have said civilians have been killed in more than one joint USA military operation with Somali forces.
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