Navy SEAL Killed in Iraq as Islamic State Breaks Through Kurdish Lines

AP Photo
AP Photo/Hadi Mizban

A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed when the Islamic State broke through Kurdish lines to attack a Peshmerga position “approximately three to five kilometers behind the forward line of troops,” according to Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook.

CNN reports that the fallen American was Charlie Keating IV.

NBC News quotes U.S. military sources saying the American was “killed by direct fire about 2 to 3 miles behind the Peshmerga’s forward line after ISIS fighters breached the position and conducted a large-scale attack with truck bombs and small arms.”

The Navy Times states that Keating died from a gunshot wound, and his death has been confirmed as a “combat death” by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. A defense official told Fox News the “service member was killed by small arms fire, likely from an AK-47 rifle.”

The attack reportedly occurred in the town of Tel Askuf, near Irbil, where the SEAL was engaged in “advising and assisting Kurdish Peshmerga forces north of Mosul.” Mosul is located about 20 miles south of Tel Askuf.

U.S. forces responded to the attack with “F15s and drones which dropped more than 20 bombs,” according to CNN.

“This sad news is a reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform face every day in the ongoing fight to destroy ISIL and end the threat the group poses to the United States and the rest of the world. Our coalition will honor this sacrifice by dealing ISIL a lasting defeat,” said Cook.