La David Johnson, US Soldiers

The Islamic State (IS) group has released a video alleging to show an trap in Niger in which four U.S. soldiers were killed last October.

US investigators now believe the soldiers got a tip on Chefou's whereabouts and chose to act on it, Pentagon officials told the AP.

A 12-member Army Special Forces unit was accompanying 30 Nigerien forces when they were attacked in a densely wooded area by as many as 50 militants traveling by vehicle and carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. As one group of soldiers uses a vehicle as cover, another joins in the fight and they attempt to withdraw from the attack, firing into the bush where the jihadis are located.

Pentagon officials have acknowledged that the attack took place on October 4, 2017, near the Niger-Mali border, where a team of a dozen American troops had been sent on a mission with local soldiers.

The investigation finds no single point of failure leading to the attack, which occurred after the soldiers learned Chefou had left the area, checked his last known location and started for home. La David T. Johnson and was the largest loss of American troops in combat in Africa since 1993.

Two other American soldiers and eight Nigerien troops were wounded in the violent gun battle, which was partially recorded on one soldier's helmet camera. Over the weekend, the group released a video via Telegram and to a Mauritanian news outlet that captures three soldiers fighting for their lives.

The soldier wearing the helmet camera went down. soon the camera stopped moving and some of the enemy fighters come into view. The jihadis continue to fire at him, even as they approach his motionless body at point-blank range and blood is seen spilling onto the ground.

Speaking at the Pentagon, Col. Rob Manning, director of Defense press operations did not confirm the authenticity of the video footage. They are reviewing the incident and are expected to release a thorough report on what happened, and lessons learned.

The Americans had been on a joint patrol with Nigerien counterparts they were training when they were ambushed by motorcycle-riding and car-driving gunmen in the Tillaberi region in the Niger's southwest.

French air support arrived two hours after the ambush started, but US troops didn't call for air support until one hour after the attack, possibly due to communications issues.

"Knowing that they were asked to try to complete and execute this type of mission with that type of equipment, I just - I could not believe it", said Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas), who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. Most news agencies have only published clips of the footage.

On Monday, Islamic State supporters posted a nine-minute long video of the ambush online.

  • Rogelio Becker