U.S. military officials wanted to have an armed drone supporting the team ambushed in Niger earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, but their request was denied by Washington. Unnamed sources told the Journal the rejection came via "a chain of approval that snakes through the Pentagon, State Department, and the Nigerien government," and the decision raises "questions about whether those forces had adequate protection against the dangers of their mission."
Meanwhile, an ABC News story also published Friday night offered new details of how the attack played out. The group of American and Nigerien troops who were ambushed were in a convoy of about seven armed and unarmed vehicles when they were attacked by more than 50 ISIS-linked fighters, ABC reports.
The soldiers at one point split up to retrieve an unarmed Land Rover which held three of the four Americans who were killed in the fight. Sgt. La David Johnson, the fourth soldier killed, gave machine gun cover to the troops who turned back for the Land Rover before he was separated from the rest, possibly after falling out of a pick-up truck.