The leader of Islamic State’s affiliate in West Africa has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed four U.S. special forces and four soldiers from Niger in October, Mauritania’s independent Nouakchott News Agency (ANI) reported on Saturday.

The troops were killed when their joint patrol was attacked near the village of Tongo Tongo, on the Mali-Niger border, on Oct. 4 by dozens of militants armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

The incident drew attention to the little-known U.S. military presence in Niger -- it has 800 troops stationed there -- and became a major publicity headache for President Donald Trump’s administration.

Security officials had identified the perpetrators as Islamist militants loyal to Adnan Abu Waleed al-Sahrawi, the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara operating along Mali’s border with Niger and Burkina Faso, but there had previously been no confirmation from al-Sahrawi himself.

“We claim the attack which targeted the American commandos in the village of Tongo Tongo,” Sahrawi, who makes public statements only very rarely, was quoted by ANI as saying.


Read more:  Reuters