BAGHDAD (AP) — An American soldier was killed in a rocket attack in southern Iraq on Sunday, the U.S. military said, marking the first American fatality since the last combat unit in Iraq pulled out of the country.
Lt. Col. Bob Owen, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq, said the attack took place while the solider was conducting operations in Iraq’s southern province of Basra.
Owen declined to elaborate, and a U.S. military statement provided no further details, saying only that the incident is under investigation.
The name of the deceased soldier was being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
The death raises to at least 4,416 the number of U.S. military personal killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003. That’s according to an Associated Press count.
The fatality comes three days after the last American combat unit left Iraq. Some 50,000 U.S. troops will stay another year in Iraq in what is designated as a noncombat role. They will primarily focus on training Iraq’s security forces.