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Mystery Surrounds Death of Female Air Force Lt. on Anti-Islamic State Mission in UAE

A 25-year-old U.S. Air Force lieutenant died Monday in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from a “non-combat related injury” sustained while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led mission against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in Iraq and Syria, according to the Pentagon.

The Miami Herald learned from an Air Force spokesperson that 1st Lt. Anais A. Tobar was found dead in her room. She was reportedly born in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas and lived in Miami.

Tobar had been assigned to the 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.

“The Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations is still investigating the circumstances of her death,” notes the Miami Herald.

Tobar’s death brings the total number of U.S. military fatalities under Operation Inherent Resolve, which started in early August 2014, to at least 20, according to a tally by the Department of Defense (DOD).

The Pentagon reported that Tobar died from a “non-combat related injury” but did not provide any additional details.

Most (16) deaths under the anti-ISIS mission have been deemed “non-hostile” deaths. Many of the incidents surrounding those fatalities are under investigation, the Pentagon has reported.

At least 16 American troops have also been injured in action while supporting the operation against the jihadist group.

Moreover, three American civilians have died — all of them designated non-combat fatalities.

Operation Inherent Resolve covers military activity in Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea.

The Miami Herald reports:

Tobar was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She and her family lived in Miami on and off through the years. She went to Osceola High in Kissimmee before attending Florida State University.

Longtime family friend Mercy McGee told the Miami Herald that six Air Force airmen notified Tobar’s family on Monday.

McGee revealed that the young Air Force lieutenant was looking forward to coming home.

“She told her mom on Saturday that when she came home she wanted to travel with her and her dad and take a trip. She was hoping for that,” the family friend who says she has known Tobar told CBS Miami.

“There are not enough words to tell you what a loving and wonderful girl she was,” McGee also told the Miami Herald. “She was God-fearing, deeply devoted to serving others and her country.”

In a statement to the Herald, Col. Christopher Sage, Fourth Fighter Wing commander at Seymour Johnson in North Carolina, offered condolences to Tobar’s grieving family:

The entire base joins me in sending our deepest sympathies to the Tobar family during this period of bereavement. The bonds that tie the Air Force family together are strong, both down-range and at home station. This tragedy affects us all; put your arm around those who are grieving, both personally and professionally.

The Herald points out that the Air Force lieutenant is survived by her mother, Ana Maria; her father, Angel; and her brother, Alejandro.

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