Sources: U.S. Soldiers Killed In Niger Were Looking For Terrorist Leader

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WASHINGTON, D.C (CBSMiami) –New details are emerging about how a U.S. military mission in Niger left four Americans dead.

Sources tell CBS News the four American soldiers killed in Niger were looking for terrorist leader Adnan Al Sahraoui or Abu Walid.

An ISIS offshoot group had been recruiting in Niger when 12 U.S. soldiers and 30 Nigerian forces went out on a reconnaissance mission for about 24 hours.

They received new orders to head to the village of Tongo-Tongo, where a terrorist – considered a high value target – had recently been spotted.

The villagers delayed the troops’ departure and when they left, they were diverted from their planned route. That’s when they were ambushed by 50 enemy fighters.

“When the investigation is complete, we’ll know the full details of the patrol,” said Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff.

Dunford said the patrol was not prepared for enemy contact.

“They were authorized to accompany the Nigerian forces when the prospects of enemy contact was unlikely. That is the rules in which they were operating,” said Dunford.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are demanding answers.

“I have a question about the whole operation. Come on. I have a question why four men died. That’s the question that most Americans want to know,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona).

U.S. officials said it is unclear whether the attack was planned or simply one of opportunity.

Gen. Dunford says the U.S. Special Forces unit waited an hour to call for help.

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