Somalia: Pentagon identifies soldier killed by al-Shabaab extremists in Somalia

Soldiers from the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) patrol inside the Garissa University College compound that was the scene of last week's attack by al-Shabab gunmen, in Garissa, Kenya, Monday, April 6, 2015. Kenya launched air strikes against al-Shabab Islamic militants in Somalia on Sunday afternoon and early Monday morning, following the extremist attack on a Kenyan college that killed 148 people, a military spokesman said. (AP Photo)

The Pentagon has identified the soldier killed Friday in a firefight with Somali extremists.

Alexander W. Conrad, 26, of Chandler, Arizona, died following the clash, which also claimed the lives of one member of the Somali-Kenyan partner force and saw four Americans wounded. Conrad was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, out of Fort Bragg, N.C.

The Defense Department said U.S. forces were providing surveillance and assistance to the Somali National Security Forces and Kenyan Defense Force during the operation in Jubaland on Friday afternoon when they came under mortar and small-arms fire

“A large force consisting of approximately 800 forces from the SNSF and KDF were conducting a multi-day operation … southwest of Mogadishu when the attack occurred,” U.S. Africa Command said in a statement. “The mission’s objectives were to clear al-Shabaab from contested areas, liberate villages from al-Shabaab control, and establish a permanent combat outpost designed to increase the span of Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) security and governance. The U.S. provided advice, assistance and aerial surveillance during the mission.”

The wounded Americans, who have not been identified, are receiving medical care at the U.S. embassy in Kenya, Pentagon officials said.

More broadly, the U.S. says its role in Somalia is to contain groups such as al-Shabaab.