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4 servicemembers wounded in Somalia treated, released — USA military

4 servicemembers wounded in Somalia treated, released — USA military”

Somalia's al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for an attack in which a U.S. commando was killed and four others were wounded when they came under fire in the country.

"There has been no direction at this time to adjust force size in AFRICOM [U.S. Africa Command]", said Pentagon spokeswoman Major Sheryll Klinkel. They were awaiting transport "for additional medical evaluation".

In a statement issued in Washington, the Defense Department identified the soldier as Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Conrad of Chandler, Arizona.

Conrad was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

"Names are being withheld pending next of kin notification".

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He was a Human Intelligence, noncommissioned officer.

Conrad was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal.

Still, the US has made several changes in the way its forces have been operating in Africa, the result of an investigation into an October 2017 ambush of USA special operations forces in Niger that left four Americans and four Nigeriens dead.

The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group, which is based in Somalia and controls parts of the country's rural south and central regions, claimed responsibility.

Friday's joint operation was part of a multi-day mission including about 800 Somali and Kenyan troops.

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The US military says its forces operate on an "advise and assist" mission with the Somali National Army.

One local soldier was also wounded when they were attacked by mortars and small arms fire, added the statement. A helicopter flew over the area.

The Trump administration has expanded military operations against extremists in Somalia, including al Shabaab, which was blamed for the truck bombing in Mogadishu in October that killed more than 500 people.

Last May, a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed near the village of Dar es Salam in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region, the first U.S. casualty in the country since 1993's Black Hawk Down incident.

Stars and Stripes reporter Chad Garland in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.

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