A United States Navy SEAL was killed in a firefight in Somalia earlier today while fighting the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Shabaab terror organization.
The SEAL team was assisting the Somali military when the deadly firefight started. According to reports, two other US service members were also injured in the fight. Their service branches and conditions are currently unknown.
According to a report from NBC news:
The U.S. service members were conducting an operation with Somali Army Commandos to go after extremist group al-Shabab when they were ambushed by fighters, a second U.S. military official in the region told NBC News.
The troops came under fire at dawn but managed to suppress the attack, a military official told NBC News. They did not call in air support, the official said.
Reports indicate that all enemy fighters were neutralized.
In a statement released by the United States Africa Command, the importance of the fight against al-Shabaab was highlighted:
On May 4, one U.S. service member was killed during an operation against al-Shabaab in Somalia, approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu.
U.S. forces were conducting an advise and assist mission alongside members of the Somali National Army.
Al-Shabaab presents a threat to Americans and American interests.
Al Shabaab is an affiliate of the terrorist group al-Qaeda, which has murdered Americans; radicalizes and recruits terrorists and fighters in the United States; and attempts to conduct and inspire attacks against Americans, our allies and our interests around the world, including here at home.
U.S. forces are assisting partner forces to counter al-Shabaab in Somalia to degrade the al-Qaeda affiliate’s ability to recruit, train and plot external terror attacks throughout the region and in America.
We continue to support our Somali and regional partners to systematically dismantle this al Qaeda affiliate, and help them to achieve stability and security throughout the region as part of the global counterterrorism effort.
The identity of the SEAL has not yet been announced pending notification of his family.
This is one of the highest profile US military deaths since the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu in which seveteen Americans were killed, seventy three wounded, and one captured during an intense two day battle with Somali militiamen loyal to the self-proclaimed president-to-be Mohamed Farrah Aidid.
The events of that battle were recounted in the award winning motion picture, Black Hawk Down.