One member of a US special operations force has died following an overnight mission (October 21-22) to rescue hostages near Hawija, in northern Iraq
The hostages faced imminent mass execution.
One member of a US special operations force has died following an overnight mission (October 21-22) to rescue hostages near Hawija, in northern Iraq.
The soldier becomes the first American to be killed in ground combat with the self-styled Islamic State, or ISIL, in the country.
Some 69 people who were being held captive by the militant group were freed during the operation.
The Pentagon says US tactics remain the same in the war against ISIL.
“This operation was deliberately planned and launched after receiving information that the hostages faced imminent mass execution,” said Pentagon spokesperson, Peter Cook. “It was authorized consistent with our counter-ISIL effort to train, advise and assist Iraqi forces. The US provided helicopter lift and accompanied Iraqi Peshmerga forces to the compound.”
The mission was a collaborative effort with Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces, aimed at rescuing hostages from an ISIL prison. Several Peshmerga fighters were injured during the operation.
According to the Kurdistan region’s security council, an initial evaluation showed no Kurds were among those freed.
More than 20 ISIL militants were reportedly killed and six detained during the raid.