Saturday 18 November 2017

US soldier 'killed' during hostage rescue mission against Islamic State

The death is likely the first confirmed US casualty in the fight against ISIS

ISIS militants were holding some 70 Kurds hostage
ISIS militants were holding some 70 Kurds hostage

Ruth Sherlock

An American soldier has been killed in an overnight operation to rescue 70 Kurdish hostages being held by Islamic State in Iraq, according to US officials.

The US Special Forces commando, whose identity has not yet been disclosed, was killed during raid by US special forces on an outpost of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that released seventy Kurdish prisoners, two US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The death of the trooper could be the first US combat fatality on the ground in the fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.  

A Pentagon spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the reports to the Telegraph.

"We have nothing to say at this time," he said.   

The attack took place in Hawija, an Isil-held town south west of Kirkuk in northern Iraq.

The mission was a collaborative effort between US Special Forces and their Kurdish allies, Iraqi officials told the New York Times.   

The officials said the objective had been to break into an ISIS controlled prison on the east of Hawija.

Kurdish special forces were said to have taken the lead on the attack, but worked in coordination with commandos on the ground.

They were also reportedly backed by US air power.

The operation came as the US-led coalition tries to regain momentum in its fight against the jihadists in Iraq.

Hawija had been a major flashpoint in recent weeks.   

The raid saw special forces flown by helicopter to a prison run by IS, the media reports said.

"They cut off roads and raided the place successfully. They were able to take people with them," Najmaldin Karim, governor of Kirkuk Province where Hawija is located, told the New York Times.

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