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Somalia's al Shabaab claims attack in which U.S. soldier died

Somalia's al Shabaab claims attack in which U.S. soldier died

Military officials said that as a result, they ordered US forces in Africa to try to avoid any missions likely to involve direct combat.

The US commando's death on Friday was the US military's first fatality in Africa since four soldiers were killed in ambush in Niger last October.

The troops had been on a mission to clear al-Shabaab from contested areas as well as villages the militants controlled, "and establish a permanent combat outpost" to expand the reach of the Somali state, the USA military's Africa Command said in a statement.

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the Saturday attack and said they killed 40 Somali soldiers.

Despite being ousted from large parts of southern and central Somalia, al-Shabab continues deadly attacks across the country, which has been ravaged by decades of war and poverty.

A Navy SEAL was killed in Somalia in May a year ago, marking the first United States military combat death there since the infamous "Black Hawk Down" events of 1993, when 18 American servicemen died in the Battle of Mogadishu. Earlier Friday, the U.S. Africa Command issued a statement in response to allegations that civilians had been killed in a May 9 operation, saying a "thorough review" found the allegations to be "not credible". According to one military official familiar with the attack, the Special Forces soldiers had less than a month left on their deployment.

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This is the second USA military fatality in Somalia in the past year. "We also injured four USA soldiers", Abdiasis Abu Musab said.

But U.S. military officials said this week that no decision had been made.

And at least in Niger, U.S. Africa Command's General Thomas Waldhauser said commanders had been ordered to be "far more prudent" about the missions that were approved.

More than 500 American forces are working with the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom) and Somali national security forces in counterterrorism operations, and have conducted frequent raids and drone strikes on Al Shabab training camps throughout Somalia.

That prudence included steps to make sure that US forces in Niger had access to more armored vehicles, additional firepower, and more drones for surveillance and reconnaissance.