The United States says it played a limited support role in France's botched bid to rescue a kidnapped secret agent in Somalia.
'United States forces provided limited technical support to the French forces in that operation, but took no direct part in the assault on the compound where it was believed the French citizen was being held hostage,' President Barack Obama said in a letter to Congress on Sunday.
Saturday's failed attempt to free the French hostage from the al-Qaeda-linked Shebab group killed at least eight civilians, as well as 17 guerrillas. One French soldier died while another went missing.
'United States combat aircraft briefly entered Somali airspace to support the rescue operation, if needed,' Obama wrote, adding that 'these aircraft did not employ weapons during the operation.'
'I directed US forces to support this rescue operation in furtherance of US national security interests,' he wrote.