June 8 (UPI) — A U.S. service member died and four others sustained injuries Friday during a firefight with al-Shabab militants in Somalia, military officials said.
The service members, along with Somali National Security Forces and Kenyan Defense Force came under attack in southern Somalia’s Jubaland autonomous region. One member of the partner forces also sustained injuries, U.S. African Command said.
Three U.S. service members and the partner member were medically evacuated for treatment.
The names of the casualties were withheld pending notification of next of kin.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the service members,” a statement from AFRICOM said.
Military officials said about 800 forces were conducting an operation to clear al-Shabab militants about 200 miles from Mogadishu at the time of the attack. They also were attempting to liberate villages from al-Shabab control and establish a combat outpost.
The Islamist militant group operates mostly in eastern African nations, including Somalia and Ethiopia. It has been designated a terror organization by the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, United Arab Emirates, Britain and Singapore.