Fourth US Soldier Is Found Dead After Ambush in Niger

Three US troops killed in Niger

Three US troops killed in Niger

The ministry updated the casualty figures from the ambush on Thursday, adding the death toll of their own forces to the three soldiers already named by the USA side. Despite the intervention of French troops in 2013 that pushed the extremists from their strongholds in northern Mali, they continue attacks.

The two wounded U.S. service members were evacuated in stable condition to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, U.S. Africa Command said in its statement.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The vast expanse of desert stretches across the continent, and affiliates of al-Qaida and the Islamic State have taken advantage of instability in Libya, where arms and fighters flow into a region hard to govern.

USA special forces soldiers were training their Nigerien counterparts in the West African nation's volatile southwest, a growing hot-bed of jihadist violence, when the report came in of a raid nearby.

CNN identifies at least three that Niger and the USA are fighting: "Islamic State in Greater Sahara, the ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram and al Qaeda's North African branch, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb".

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The suspected militants who launched the raids belong to the al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb - a group affiliated to the al-Qaeda that is active in the North Africa region. That effort has increased in recent years, the Pentagon said. "Niger is an important partner of ours".

That force will operate in the region along with a 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, which has become the deadliest in the world for United Nations peacekeepers, and France's 5,000-strong Barkhane military operation, its largest overseas mission.

France, which has seen a string of domestic attacks by the Islamic State, is also concerned about the threat posed by militants in the Sahel, and the possibility they could use the migrant route through Libya to infiltrate Europe and mount attacks in France.

A spokeswoman for the French Ministry of Defense told CNN Thursday that French troops from the Barkhane anti-terror force based in neighboring Chad were involved in an operation in Niger.

"Any time one of the members of our great military are injured, wounded or killed in action, that is certainly something that we take very seriously", she said, adding that "our thoughts and prayers are with those individuals". Trump was in Las Vegas meeting with victims of Sunday night's shooting massacre, along with first responders and doctors.

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