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U.S. Special Ops Service Member Killed in Somalia in Al-Shabaab Attack

U.S. Africa Command said one Special Operations member was killed and four U.S. service members were wounded in an operation today in Jubaland, Somalia.

U.S. forces have been training local forces in the region in the fight against terror group al-Shabaab; the group released a statement through al-Qaeda's Global Islamic Media Front after the attack saying they had killed or injured "more than five U.S. forces" at Bulagadud, an area on the outskirts of Kismau in southern Somalia.

AFRICOM was withholding the names of the killed and wounded pending notification of next of kin.

"The combined Somali National Security Forces (SNSF), Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) and U.S. force came under mortar and small-arms fire at approximately 2:45 p.m. Mogadishu time, killing one U.S. service member and injuring four U.S. service members and one partner force member. One of the wounded U.S service members received sufficient medical care in the field. Three U.S. service members and the one partner force wounded were medically evacuated to receive additional treatment," the AFRICOM statement said.

"A large force consisting of approximately 800 forces from the SNSF and KDF were conducting a multi-day operation approximately 350 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu when the attack occurred. The mission's objectives were to clear al-Shabaab from contested areas, liberate villages from al-Shabaab control, and establish a permanent combat outpost designed to increase the span of Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) security and governance. The U.S. provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission."

AFRICOM added that the mission "was specifically designed to increase the FGS’s ability to provide vital government services to innocent civilians living under al-Shabaab’s rule."

"The population in the region had historically supported the government, and the Somali forces had prepared for this mission by coordinating heavily with and securing the support of local authorities ahead of time," the statement continued. "The overarching goal in Somalia for the Department of Defense is to help the FGS provide a safe and secure environment for the Somali population."