In a statement, the defense department said Milliken had been killed "during an operation against al-Shabaab ... in a remote area approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu ... in support of a Somali National Army-led operation with US Africa Command".
AFRICOM said the USA forces in the raid were on an "advise-and-assist mission alongside members of the Somali National Army". The Pentagon said two other service members were wounded.
"We helped bring them in with our aircraft", Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said of the Somali forces in a statement. He said the US troops were "a distance back" from the compound, which had been associated with attacks on nearby facilities used by the USA and Somali partners.
The Americans were only with the Somalis to "advise and assist" and were not part of the force tasked with entering the compound, he said. Davis said there are typically about 50 USA special operators in Somalia at any time for that mission. Al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for the incident, is based in Somalia but has also said it was behind major attacks elsewhere in East Africa.
United States special forces have been deployed in Somalia for years, while Washington has carried out countless drone strikes on Shabaab targets.
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Abdirisak Farah, a Somali military officer, said there were casualties on both sides, with six Shabaab fighters killed. The official was not authorized to identify the service branch to which the US troops belonged and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Senior Al-Shabab commander killed in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region during an operation, Somalia's Minister of Information Abdirahman Omar Osman (Yarisow) said. He was killed, and two other SEALs were injured during a gunfight with the Islamic terror group, marking the first American combat fatality in Somalia since the 1993 "Black Hawk Down" battle. An unknown number of Somali army soldiers and al-Shabab militants were killed or wounded.
Militants from the al Qaeda-affiliated group al Shabaab have carried out frequent attacks in Mogadishu as they fight to topple Somalia's Western-backed government and drive out African Union peacekeeping troops. "We have argued very strongly that this is not the time for military action".
Somalia, which was swept by chaos after the fall of dictator Siad Barre in 1991, is now run by a fragile central government.
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