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4 October 1993: US forces killed in Somali gun battle. At least five US soldiers have been killed and two Blackhawk helicopters shot down in a heavy firefight in the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu. Pentagon sources say the helicopters were carrying elite US Army Ranger units on a mission to capture a local warlord in the east African state. One US soldier is believed to have been taken hostage. In an earlier incident three marines were wounded and a Somali killed when a remote-controlled mine exploded under their vehicle. The deaths bring to 16 the number of Americans killed in combat in Somalia since the United States intervened in December last year. President Clinton released a statement expressing his sympathy over the deaths of “brave Americans engaged in a vital humanitarian mission”. The helicopters were shot down at around 1545 local time yesterday (1245 GMT) at the start of an operation to take into UN custody members of a faction led by General Muhammad Aideed. The Pentagon said about 20 members were arrested after an assault on a heavily armed compound, including a senior ranking associate of the militia leader.

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