A member of the United States Navy SEALs was killed in action during a raid in Somalia against the Islamic militant group known as al-Shabaab.
"On May 4, one U.S. service member was killed during an operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia, approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu," the United States Africa Command said in a statement posted to its website. "U.S. forces were conducting an advise and assist mission alongside members of the Somali National Army. Al-Shabaab presents a threat to Americans and American interests."
The U.S. Africa Command continued:
Al Shabaab is an affiliate of the terrorist group al-Qaeda, which has murdered Americans; radicalizes and recruits terrorists and fighters in the United States; and attempts to conduct and inspire attacks against Americans, our allies and our interests around the world, including here at home. U.S. forces are assisting partner forces to counter al-Shabaab in Somalia to degrade the al-Qaeda affiliate's ability to recruit, train and plot external terror attacks throughout the region and in America.
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The name of the fallen Navy SEAL has not yet been released.
The U.S. military has been operating in Somalia since 2001, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Currently, there are 200 to 300 special operations troops conducting ground raids with soldiers from the Somali military.
And in 2016, under then-President Barack Obama, that military effort escalated.
"It is clear that U.S. on-the-ground support to Somali security forces and African Union peacekeepers has been stepped up this year," Ken Menkhaus, a Somalia expert at Davidson College, told The New York Times in October, 2016. "That increases the likelihood that U.S. advisers will periodically be in positions where al-Shabaab is about to launch an attack."
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The U.S. military effort in Somalia has included the use of air strikes. And in September 2016, the U.S. military said it was "misinformed" when it launched an air strike in an area with Somali soldiers, causing the deaths of 22 people whom the U.S. is supposed to be helping fight Islamic militancy, reported Al Jazeera.
In March, President Donald Trump granted extended powers to the U.S. military to conduct air strikes in Somalia, adding onto Obama's war efforts in the region.
"We continue to support our Somali and regional partners to systematically dismantle this al Qaeda affiliate, and help them to achieve stability and security throughout the region as part of the global counterterrorism effort," U.S. Africa Command said in its statement.