Somalia's al Shabaab claims attack in which U.S. soldier died

Al Shabaab strikes again following Friday attack that killed US commando

Major Hussein Ali, a Somali military officer told Reuters the attack took place at a military base just outside the town of Kismayu in Southern Somalia. "They are truly all HEROES".

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

It was the first known United States combat death in Africa since an ambush in Niger in October, the New York Times reports. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the service members".

"Three U.S. service members and the one partner force wounded were medically evacuated to receive additional treatment", Africom said in a statement issued on Friday night.

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

The death is the first USA combat death in Africa since an ambush previous year by ISIS-aligned fighters in Niger left four US soldiers dead and prompted questions over whether American troops in the region had proper support.

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.

Last May, a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed near the village of Dar es Salam in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region, the first U.S. casualty in the country since 1993's Black Hawk Down incident.

The October attack in Niger raised questions in Washington about the US military presence across Africa as the Trump administration focuses counterterrorism efforts on a range of groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. The U.S. military said its personnel had provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.

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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