A U.S. Navy SEAL has been killed in northern Iraq during fierce clashes between Islamic State militants and Kurdish forces, marking the third American combat death in the fight against ISIS, military officials say.
The fighting happened on Tuesday morning in an area northeast of Mosul, which is the largest city held by the Islamic State. An estimated 400 ISIS militants and hundreds of Kurdish Peshmerga forces were involved in the clashes.
The Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) said the attacks began at around 5:30 a.m. local time on Tuesday when ISIS militants attacked Peshmerga forces with three car bombs, allowing the militants to seize control of Tel Isqof and Musqelat.
Peshmerga forces, backed by coalition airstrikes, were able to retake Musqelat by 10 a.m. and cleared Tel Isqof by 3:30 p.m.
KRSC Chancellor Masrour Barzani said an undisclosed number of Peshmerga fighters had been killed in the clashes, as well as more than 80 ISIS militants, though BNO News was unable to independently verify that figure. The U.S. military confirmed that an American service member had also been killed.
“This morning a U.S. servicemember advising and assisting Peshmerga forces was killed by enemy fire north of Mosul,” said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook. “The casualty occurred during an ISIL attack on a Peshmerga position approximately three to five kilometers behind the forward line of troops.”
The identity of the service member – a U.S. Navy SEAL – was not immediately released pending next of kin notification.
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