While advising Peshmerga forces near the city of Irbil, Iraq, a Navy SEAL, not yet named, was killed by members of the Islamic State (ISIS), according to U.S defense officials.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter made an announcement that this was the third U.S death since the U.S Coalition was formed in 2014 to aid in the fight against ISIS. Carter made the announcement from Stuttgart, Germany while attending the change-of-command ceremony at U.S European Command.
Carter mentioned that the risk for the 5,000 or so troops stationed in Iraq is still very high despite them serving in advise and assist positions. “It shows you it’s a serious fight that we have to wage in Iraq,” he said.
ISIS forces broke through the Kurdish Peshmerga lines at around 9:30 A.M local time and fatally wounded the Navy SEAL. According to ABC News, ISIS used truck bombs to penetrate Peshmerga lines around the city of Irbil and after getting through, killed the Navy SEAL in direct fire. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement to ABC News, “this morning a U.S. servicemember advising and assisting Peshmerga forces was killed by enemy fire north of Mosul.”
The Navy SEAL was not positioned at the front lines of the assault but after breaking through Peshmerga lines, reached his position. During the attack on ISIS, there were 23 airstrikes called to assist the Kurdish forces.
According to the Kurdistan Region Security Council, 80 Islamic State militants have been killed and 25 vehicles destroyed on Tuesday. Ten Peshmerga forces also perished in the fight according to Kurdish officials.
The United States has recently made plans to add 200 additional troops to Iraq to advise Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS.
Information on the identity of the Navy SEAL will be provided by the Pentagon after the next of kin has been notified.