US service member killed in Iraq: defence

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Baghdad, Mar 19: An American member of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group was killed in northern Iraq today due to enemy action, the coalition and a Pentagon official said.

"The Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve can confirm the death of a coalition service member in northern Iraq today as a result of enemy action," it said in a statement.

iraq

The coalition statement did not specify the nationality of the killed service member, but a Pentagon official confirmed to AFP the casualty was an American citizen.

The global coalition against the jihadist group comprises more than 60 countries. The coalition said more information would be released as appropriate.

The CNN news channel reported that the death occurred as a result of a rocket attack on a base in Makhmur, an area around 70 kilometres southeast of the main IS hub of Mosul.

It also said that a "small number" of other American troops were wounded in the attack. Makhmur lies within territory controlled by the autonomous northern region of Kurdistan, but Baghdad has recently been deploying federal forces there to prepare for an offensive against Mosul.

The coalition's main role in the war against IS has been to provide air support, with close to 10,000 strikes destroying or damaging more than 16,000 targets since the summer of 2014.

But the United States and some of its leading partners in the coalition such as France, Britain, Australia and Italy also have significant contingents deployed on the ground Iraq.

Their official role is to train and advise local Iraqi forces. A member of the Special Operations forces was killed in October last year during a joint raid with Kurdish forces against IS in the city of Hawijah.

A Canadian sergeant serving in the coalition in northern Iraq was accidentally shot dead by a Kurdish sniper who had mistaken him as an enemy target in March 2015. 

AFP

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