Navy Seal killed in Somalia was based in Virginia Beach

The US Navy SEALs and their Somali National Army partners were flown in via helicopter and came under fire "in the early phase of the mission" after landing near their target, an al Shabaab compound, according to Davis, adding that "the attackers were quickly neutralized on the ground".

The AU force will begin withdrawing in 2018, and head of the U.S. Africa Command, Commander General Thomas Waldhauser, has said that if it leaves before Somalia's security forces are capable, "large portions of Somalia are at risk of returning to al-Shabab control or potentially allowing ISIS to gain a stronger foothold". But they are not directly engaged in combat unless they find themselves in a self-defense situation.

For an administration that was supposed to eliminate "foreign USA entanglements" and bring America's troops home, the offshore combat deaths sure are piling up fast.

A United States special forces raid was launched weeks after President Donald Trump took office on a suspected al-Qaeda base in Yemen led to the death of one American soldier and up to 25 civilians. An equal number of conventional forces are now in Somalia for a training mission lasting several months.

To counter al-Shabab, the United States has increasingly used Special Operations forces, airstrikes, private contractors and African allies.

The government said the death of the al Shabaab leader "strengthens the war on terror - so fighters have a chance to leave al Shabaab".

Al-Shabaab presents a threat to Americans and American interests, according to the Africom release.

They also provide the helicopters that transport the Somali troops to their targets. A force of 50 USA troops is tasked with partnering with the Somali army, and additional forces come and go for shorter periods of time.

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There have been several instances over the past year where some of these American forces have engaged in firefights in self-defense.

President Donald Trump recently approved an order that expanded USA authority in Somalia, allowing US aircraft to attack militants during offensive operations without presidential approval.

US and Somali forces were attacked at some point after arriving by helicopter to the target location, a compound that housed a group of al-Shabaab militants associated with an attack on facilities nearby used by Somali and USA military forces.

He said the Americans were there to "advise and assist" the Somali government troops and were not part of the team assigned to enter the compound.

Millkien, from Falmouth, Maine, is the first American to die in combat in the African country since 1993.

This was portrayed in the 2002 Hollywood blockbuster Black Hawk Down.

In late 1992, President George H.W. Bush ordered American troops into Somalia to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid meant to relieve a starvation.

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