An al Shabaab chief, Moalim Osman Abdi Badil, and three fighters have been killed in fighting in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia.
According to Somalia’s information ministry, a U.S. Navy Seal was also killed and two troops wounded in the Friday raid on an al Shabaab militant compound.
“On May 5, the Somali National Army killed an al Shabaab leader, Moalim Osman Abdi Badil, and three fighters,” a statement from ministry said.
“This will weaken the strength of the terrorists in Lower Shabelle region. It is a victory for the Somali forces and for peacemaking,” the statement added.
It is believed to be the first U.S. combat death in the African country since the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident.
The government said the death of the al Shabaab leader “strengthens the war on terror – so fighters have a chance to leave al Shabaab.”
The spokesman for al Shabaab was not available for immediate comment.
Somalia has been at war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Said Barre and then turned on each other.
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.