Islamic State offshoot claims 2017 attack
DAKAR, SENEGAL » An Islamic State group offshoot claims it carried out an October attack in Niger that killed four U.S. soldiers and four Nigerien troops and sparked questions about U.S. military involvement in West Africa’s vast Sahel region.
The Mauritanian Nouakchott News Agency reported Friday that Abu al-Walid alSahrawi with the self-professed IS affiliate claimed responsibility for the Oct. 4 ambush about 120 miles north of Niger’s capital, Niamey. The news agency has carried messages from the affiliate before, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist websites.
The U.S. Africa Command has been investigating the attack, which also wounded two U.S. and eight Nigerien troops. A 12-member Army special forces unit accompanied 30 Nigerien forces when they were attacked in a densely wooded area by up to 50 militants traveling by vehicle and carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.