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Tucson pilot among Americans killed in Kenya terror attack

A Tucson man was among those killed in a weekend assault on a base in Africa — reportedly part of a terrorist response to the U.S. assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Friday.

Dustin Harrison, 46, was identified by his family on social media as one of the three Americans killed in an attack in Kenya on Sunday. His name has not been released by U.S. authorities.

The military contractor for the Defense Department was named by his wife, Hope Harrison, in a Facebook post.

"Received the heart-wrenching call this evening that my beautiful husband was one of the casualties from the terrorist that took place early this morning," she wrote. "My world is completely a nightmare at the moment. My worst fear is now my reality. The pain is unbearable."

The couple married in 2016. Harrison is also survived by his two-year-old daughter, Heaven.

Along with Harrison, another private military contractor and a U.S. serviceman were killed in the fighting at a military airfield used by U.S. counterterrorism troops in Kenya. Officials have not released their names.

The base at Manda Bay, on the coast of the East African nation, was attacked by Al-Shabaab, an Islamist terrorist organization based in neighboring Somalia.

In a statement Monday, U.S. officials downplayed a connection with the killing of the Iranian general in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq:

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Contrary to various open source reports, U.S. Africa Command does not assess yesterday’s attack by al-Shabaab is linked to Iran.

While Iranian involvement is not suspected in the attack, U.S. Africa Command has observed other nations, including Iran, seek increased influence in the Horn of Africa.

Soleimani, the top Iranian general, was targeted and killed in a U.S. airstrike while he was at an airfield in Baghdad, Iraq.

Two other Defense Department workers were wounded in Sunday's attack, officials said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our teammates who lost their lives today," said U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, commander of U.S. Africa Command, in a Sunday news release. "As we honor their sacrifice, let’s also harden our resolve. Alongside our African and international partners, we will pursue those responsible for this attack and al-Shabaab who seeks to harm Americans and U.S. interests.  We remain committed to preventing al-Shabaab from maintaining a safe haven to plan deadly attacks against the U.S. homeland, East African, and international partners."

U.S. officials released few details about the assault on the base, where American troops train soldiers from East African allies:

The attack on the compound today involved indirect and small arms fire. After an initial penetration of the perimeter, Kenya Defense Forces and U.S. Africa Command repelled the al-Shabaab attack. Reports indicate that six contractor-operated civilian aircraft were damaged to some degree. Manda Bay Airfield is utilized by U.S. forces whose missions include providing training to our African partners, responding to crises, and protecting U.S. interests in this strategically important area.

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Dustin Harrison, via Facebook.