Secretary of Defense Ash Carter confirmed a U.S. serviceman was killed Tuesday near Mosul fighting the Islamic State with the Kurdish Peshmerga.
Carter’s confirmation came during a speech in Stuttgart, Germany while he was on a trip to attend the change of command ceremony for U.S. European Command and a meeting where he will discuss the ongoing fight against ISIS with various allies. Aside from affirming a serviceman was killed in a “combat death,” Carter offered no details as to who the individual was or what unit they belonged to. CNN has reported that he belonged to the U.S. Navy SEALs.
“The enemy penetrated the Kurdish lines,” said U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren Tuesday. ISIS units utilized vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) in the attack three miles behind the main fighting line. Kurdish Maj. Gen. Jaber Yawer told the Associated Press that the SEAL himself was killed by an ISIS sniper.
The serviceman’s death marks the third American to be killed fighting ISIS since operations against the terrorist group began. The last serviceman killed was Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin, who was hit by a rocket while operating out of a U.S. firebase in Makhmur, Iraq. U.S. Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler was killed in October while participating in a raid against ISIS forces.
Operation Inherent Resolve forces have been engaging in various operations in northern Iraq for some months in an effort to cut-off Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul from the rest of ISIS-held territory. Thus far, efforts have been hit-and-miss, with reports that Iraqi Security Forces have faltered on occasion despite being supported by U.S. fire from the air and ground.
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