U.S. military service member killed in Somalia attack

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USA forces provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.

A USA special operations soldier was killed in southwestern Somalia on Friday and four others were wounded when their team came under attack from insurgents.

"This area is called Sanguni, we came here to carry out a special operation created to liberate this area that is still under the control of al-Shabab fighters", Lt. Col. Abdi Ibrahim with the Somali armed forces said Friday.

One U.S. special operations soldier was killed and four U.S. service members were wounded in an attack in Somalia on Friday, June 8, 2018.

Friday's joint operation, part of a multi-day mission including about 800 Somali and Kenyan troops, aimed to clear al-Shabaab from contested areas.

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 U.S. has about 500 troops in Somalia, mostly in Special Operations.

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Militants affiliated with al-Shabab have threatened to conduct attacks against the United States, and the USA military has said the group poses a direct threat to US interests and allies in the region.

US President Donald Trump paid tribute on Twitter last night, offering "thoughts and prayers" to the families of the soldier who was killed and those who were wounded. A U.S. Africa Command statement said the four were in the care of the U.S. Embassy medical team in neighboring Kenya. The US had pulled out of the country after 1993, when two helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu and bodies of Americans were dragged through the streets.

Al-Shabab, linked to al-Qaida, seeks to establish an Islamic state in Somalia. Since 2007, Al-Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Somalia.

Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, who heads U.S. Africa Command, said at a Pentagon press conference that he had taken steps to better ensure the safety of U.S. service members in future operations.

It was also a 3rd Special Forces Group team which was hit in Niger previous year, an ambush which killed four American soldiers and led to a massive investigation by the Pentagon.

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.