US military member killed in Somalia on anti-extremist work
Trump has approved expanded military operations against al-Shabaab, including more aggressive airstrikes and considering parts of southern Somalia areas of active hostilities.world Updated: May 05, 2017 19:06 IST
The US military said on Friday a service member has been killed in Somalia during an operation against the extremist group al-Shabaab, as the United States steps up its fight against the al-Qaeda-linked organization.
A statement from the US Africa Command said the service member was killed on Thursday during the operation near Barii, about 64 kilometers west of capital Mogadishu.
The statement said US forces were conducting an advise-and-assist mission with Somalia’s military.
Both the United States and Somalia in recent weeks have declared new efforts against the extremist group. President Donald Trump has approved expanded military operations against al-Shabaab, including more aggressive airstrikes and considering parts of southern Somalia areas of active hostilities.
A Somali intelligence official confirmed the US military operation, saying US forces in helicopters raided an al-Shabaab hideout near the Somali capital on Thursday night and engaged with fighters. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the helicopters dropped soldiers near Dare Salaam village in an attempt to capture or kill extremists in the area.
The official said the fighters mounted a stiff resistance against the soldiers.
Somalia’s new Somali-American president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, last month declared a new offensive against al-Shabaab, which is based in Somalia but has claimed responsibility for major attacks elsewhere in East Africa.
Also last month, the US military announced it was sending dozens of regular troops to Somalia in the largest such deployment to the Horn of Africa country in roughly two decades. The US Africa Command said the deployment was for logistics training of Somalia’s army.