Pentagon says Navy SEAL was killed in Somalia operation

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A Pentagon spokesman said Friday that US special operations troops had come under fire after USA aircraft delivered Somali forces to the target area.

According to Washington, United States troops stationed in this African Horn country "conduct an advicing and assistance mission with the Somali national army". But they are not directly engaged in combat unless they find themselves in a self-defense situation.

"We killed several American fighters".

The U.S. military has been operating in Somalia since 2001, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

The Defense Department has identified the Navy SEAL killed during an operation against al-Shabaab militants in Somalia. An equal number of conventional forces are now in Somalia for a training mission lasting several months.

The Pentagon still tried to shrug this off as something short of a "combat operation" by insisting the troops weren't scheduled to enter the compound, but were to just stand outside and "advise and assist".

AMISOM forces have been in Somalia since 2007, gradually expanding to secure the capital and pushing into major towns. In al-Shabaab held areas, the group claims it is running food-assistance programs while blocking access to Western humanitarian organizations like the United Nations food agency, the World Food Program. Al Shabab is also regularly targeted by American airstrikes.

An American-Somali translator was also wounded, the official said.

Last month, the US said it was sending dozens of regular troops to Somalia in the largest such deployment there in about two decades.

It has already done so in Yemen, where USA forces are conducting intensified operations against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and in Syria, where President Trump launched missile strikes on Syrian government facilities last month in retaliation for a chemical attack.

Friday's raid was not carried out under those new authorities, but was part of the ongoing advise and assist mission.

The deputy governor of the Somalia region where a US military service member was killed during an operation against al-Shabab says one goal of the raid was to "surgically target" senior members of the extremist group hiding in the area.

At a Pentagon news conference in late March, Waldhauser said additional flexibility on the rules of engagement would accelerate the campaign against al-Shabab, but "we are not going to turn Somalia into a free-fire zone".

Two American Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in October 1993.

Starvation and war broadcast on American televisions put pressure on then President George H.W. Bush, who ordered United States troops to help with humanitarian shipments.

He was on a clandestine mission with Somali soldiers. President Clinton pulled American troops out months later. US military advisers have secretly operated there since around 2007. The advisers' focus has shifted to the nascent military forces loyal to the new Somali government.

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