U.S. Service Member Dies During Somalia Operation
One U.S. service member was killed yesterday during an operation against al-Shabaab in a remote area of Shabeellaha Hoose in Somalia, approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu.
“This is the first combat death in Somalia since the early 1990s,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, director of Pentagon press operations, told reporters today.
The identity of the fallen U.S. service member is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Operation With Somalian Army
U.S. forces were conducting a partnered operation with members of the Somalia National Army, Davis said, noting this was an operation targeting an al-Shabaab group that had been associated with attacks against the United States, Somalia and African Union Mission in Somalia forces.
Davis said al-Shabaab is an al-Qaida affiliate closely tied more specifically to Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which is a group that has murdered Americans, radicalized and recruited terrorists and fighters in the United States, and has conducted and inspired attacks against Americans and U.S. interests around the world.
“We have been conducting this particular mission to partner with and counter al-Shabaab in Somalia since 2013,” Davis said. “This is part of an ongoing mission there to degrade this al-Qaida’s affiliate’s ability to recruit, train and plot external terror attacks throughout the region and in the United States.”
The U.S. continues to support its Somali and regional partners to systematically dismantle this al-Qaida affiliate, and to help them achieve stability and security throughout the region as part of the global counterterrorism effort, according to a U.S. Africa Command news release issued today.