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Soldier from Arizona killed in Somalia

Soldier from Arizona killed in Somalia

Soldier from Arizona killed in Somalia

A US operations soldier was killed and four wounded in an attack Friday by al-Shabab extremists in Somalia.

The US military has stepped up its airstrikes in the Horn of Africa nation after getting President Donald Trump's approval for expanded military operations there.

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

There are about 500 US troops in Somalia on an advise and assist mission to help the Somali military in its fight against al Shabab, an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group.

The US military says its forces operate on an "advise and assist" mission with the Somali National Army.

It was the first public announcement of a USA military combat death on the continent since four US service members were killed in a militant ambush in the west African nation of Niger in October.

The US casualties are the first confirmed in Somalia since May 2017 when one soldier was killed and two others wounded in a gun battle with al-Shabab west of Mogadishu.

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In a statement, the USA military said on Friday one local soldier was also wounded in the attack that also involved Somali and Kenyan forces.

The attack, about 50 kilometers north of the port city of Kismayo, came as US forces were helping Somali and Kenyan troops construct the outpost, part of a multiday mission to help clear the area of militants with the al-Shabab terror group, according to USA military officials.

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.

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.

This is the second US military fatality in Somalia in the previous year.

The October attack in Niger raised questions in Washington about the USA 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.

"One of the wounded U.S service members received sufficient medical care in the field". The U.S. military said its personnel had provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.

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