An American serviceman has become the second to be killed by Islamic State after fighters broke through the line of defense during an operation in northern Iraq.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter confirmed Tuesday that the serviceman died near the city of Irbil, telling the Associated Press it was a “combat death”.
NBC News says the soldier was on an advance-and-assist mission with the Kurdish Peshmerga when Islamic State fighters penetrated the line of defense. The serviceman was killed by direct fire.
He is the second American serviceman to be killed by the terror group. In October last year, Master Sgt Joshua Wheeler was killed during a raid to rescue hostages held by Islamic State.
The hostages were successfully rescued in Iraq following a tip-off they were about to be murdered by the Islamists.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said at the time: “In this support role, we’re allowed to defend ourselves and defend partner forces and protect against the loss of innocent lives. And that’s what played out in this particular mission.”
Last month, Defense Secretary Carter announced the U.S. would send 217 more troops to assist Iraqi forces.
“The Iraqis are still in the lead. That doesn’t change,” Carter said. “Americans are at risk today every single day here. As secretary of defense, I take that more seriously than anything else.”