United States soldier killed in attack by al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia

Lucy Bush
June 11, 2018

"They are truly all HEROES", he tweeted.

The U.S. special operations forces were fighting alongside about 800 troops from the Somali National Security Forces and Kenyan Defence Forces when they were attacked late on Friday by mortars and small arms fire.

Still, the US has made several changes in the way its forces have been operating in Africa, the result of an investigation into an October 2017 ambush of USA special operations forces in Niger that left four Americans and four Nigeriens dead.

The American soldiers were providing advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.

The troops had been on a mission to clear al-Shabaab from contested areas as well as villages the militants controlled, "and establish a permanent combat outpost" to expand the reach of the Somali state, the USA military's Africa Command said in a statement.

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A large force consisting of about 800 SNSF and KDF service members was conducting a multiday operation nearly 220 miles southwest of Mogadishu when the attack occurred.

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

Al-Shabab, linked to al-Qaida, seeks to establish an Islamic state in Somalia.

American military officials worry that the group is growing once more, even after losing much of its territory in Somalia in recent years and being targeted by American drone strikes.

But it still has a strong presence in regions around the capital.

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

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

"There has been no direction at this time to adjust force size in AFRICOM [U.S. Africa Command]", said Pentagon spokeswoman Major Sheryll Klinkel.

Somali officials have said civilians have been killed in more than one joint USA military operation with Somali forces.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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