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A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, who was killed in the Niger ambush. Photo: Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne / U.S. Air Force via AP

More than two weeks after the Oct. 4 firefight in Niger that left four American soldiers dead, there is still a dearth of information on the events leading up to the battle and what happened during the ambush itself, prompting an investigation by U.S. Africa Command, per CNN.

Why it matters: Beyond the politicization of the event ignited by the presidential contact of the families of deceased servicemen, this is the most significant military loss yet in President Trump's term — and the lack of information is concerning. Defense Secretary James Mattis is "dismayed" by the situation, according to another CNN report, while some on the left have begun to brand Niger as "Trump's Benghazi."

What is known:
  • This wasn't supposed to happen: U.S. Africa Command told CNN that intelligence indicated it was "unlikely" that U.S. forces operating in the region, including the ill-fated group of 12 Green Berets on a training mission with Nigerien troops, would encounter resistance.
  • The response was haphazard: Because the U.S. didn't expect a fight, American military assets weren't ready to assist the soldiers on the ground. They had to wait until French military jets and helicopters operated by a private contractor could reach the site, per CNN. Mattis has denied problems with the evacuation, saying that he "completely [rejects] the idea that that was slow."
  • The attackers were probably ISIS-affiliated: The 50 fighters who ambushed the soldiers were likely members of the affiliate group ISIS in the Greater Sahara. The Pentagon told reporters last week that the attack was the product of ISIS "trying to go to other places, trying to find the cold corner of the room" — though it stopped short of definitively declaring the attackers' origin.
What isn't known:
  • What might have been missed: The investigation by U.S. Africa Command is set to dive into why intelligence showed it was "unlikely" for the soldiers to be attacked. Additionally, the military wants to discover why an attack happened then, even though U.S. forces had been operating in the region for nearly six months prior.
  • What happened to Sgt. La David Johnson: Johnson's widow is at the heart of the political firestorm with Trump's calls, but he wasn't listed among the initial casualties two weeks ago. He became separated from the group — and may have later activated a beacon, indicating that he was possibly still alive after the ambush. His body was recovered two days after the attack.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

UN Security Council meeting on Israel-Gaza as fighting enters 7th day

Smoke billows from a fire following Israeli airstrikes on multiple targets in Gaza on May 16. Photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council was preparing to meet Sunday, as the aerial bombardment between Israel and Hamas between entered a seventh day.

The latest: Four Palestinians died in airstrikes early Sunday, as Israeli forces bombed the home of Gaza's Hamas chief, Yehya al-Sinwar, per Reuters.

7 hours ago - World

In photos: Protests in U.S., across the world over Israeli–Palestinian conflict

A protest march in support of Palestinians near the Washington monument in Washington, D.C. on May 15. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of people rallied across the U.S. and the world Saturday following days of violence in Gaza and Israel that's killed at least 145 Palestinians, including 41 children, and eight Israelis, per AP.

The big picture: Most demonstrations were in support of Palestinians. There were tense scenes between pro-Israeli government protesters and pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Winnipeg, Canada, and Leipzig, Germany, but no arrests were made, CBS News and DW.com report.

Updated 15 hours ago - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.