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US soldier killed and four wounded in Somalia attack

President Donald Trump called the soldiers ‘heroes’.

A US special operations soldier has been killed and four US service members wounded in an “enemy attack” in Somalia.

US Africa Command said that US troops with Somalian and Kenyan forces came under mortar and small-arms fire on Friday in Jubaland, Somalia, at around 2.45pm local time.

One member of the “partner forces” was wounded. One of the injured US service members received sufficient medical care in the field, and the other three were medically evacuated for additional treatment.

US president Donald Trump paid tribute on Twitter Friday night, offering “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the soldier who was killed and those who were wounded. “They are truly all HEROES,” he tweeted.

US Africa Comand did not identify the attackers but said a larger force of about 800 Somali and Kenyan troops were conducting a multi-day operation against al-Shabab militants about 350 kilometres (217 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, when the attack occurred.

The operation aimed to clear the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab from contested areas. The US provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission, the statement said.

Al-Shabab claimed credit for the attack, the SITE Intelligence Group said in a statement on Friday.

The last killing of a US service member in Somalia was in May 2017 during an operation about 40 miles (64 kilometres) west of Mogadishu.

The US 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.

But Mr Trump approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab in early 2017, leading to an increase in US military personnel to more than 500 and the launch of dozens of drone strikes.

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