A US military member was killed and two others were wounded in Somalia when they were attacked while on a mission advising Somali National Army forces, US Africa Command confirmed Friday.
The US service member killed in action was a Navy SEAL, a US defense official told CNN.
The incident occurred Thursday during an operation against local al Qaeda affiliate al Shabaab 40 miles west of Mogadishu near the town of Barii. The wounded are receiving medical attention, another US defense official told CNN. The troops came under small arms fire.
The US troops were part of an ongoing US military program to advise and assist Somali ground forces. The mission was not part of the stepped-up effort in Somalia to conduct airstrikes and ground missions against terror targets.
"US 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," according to a news release from US Africa Command.
US Africa Command announced last month that it was sending sending "dozens" of additional troops to Somalia to train and equip the Somali National Army and the forces participating in the African Union Mission in Somalia there.
A US military official has told CNN that the new contingent would consist of about 40 soldiers.
The US troops will join the small number of US special operations forces already there providing counterterrorism support to local forces battling al Shabaab. That advisory mission has been underway for several years.
The new training effort comes as US military leaders see new opportunities to work with Somalia's newly elected President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, a dual US-Somali citizen who has embarked on a series of aggressive military reforms amid an ongoing al Shabaab bombing campaign that has repeatedly struck the capital, Mogadishu.