USA soldier killed in al-Shabab attack in Somalia

Despite being ousted from large parts of southern and central Somalia, al-Shabab continues deadly attacks across the country, which has been ravaged by decades of war and poverty. "They are truly all HEROES", Trump wrote on Twitter.

United States troops alongside Somali and Kenyan forces came under fire during operation against al-Shabab in Jubaland.

U.S. Africa Command said in a statement that U.S. troops with Somali and Kenyan forces came under mortar and small-arms fire in Jubaland, Somalia, at around 2:45 p.m.

It was the first known USA combat death in Africa since an ambush in Niger in October, the New York Times reports. According to one military official familiar with the attack, the Special Forces soldiers had less than a month left on their deployment.

"Shabab al-Mujahedeen Movement fighters mounted a fierce attack in a military base of American and Somali forces", the report said, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.

Conrad was born in Mesa, Ariz., and joined the Army on June 10, 2010, the statement said. 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.

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.

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.

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

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the Saturday attack and said they killed 40 Somali soldiers.

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

A U.S. Africa Command statement says the four wounded are now in the care of the U.S. Embassy medical team in neighboring Kenya.

  • Tracy Klein