Ashton Carter: U.S. service member killed in combat in Iraq
Ashton Carter: U.S. service member killed in combat in Iraq

Ashton Carter: U.S. service member killed in combat in Iraq, Report

Ashton Carter, U.S. Defense Secretary said on Tuesday that an American serviceman has been killed in Iraq, describing it as a “combat death.”

Ash Carter was informed of the news as he left the stage of the change-of-command ceremony for U.S. European Command based here, and told reporters at a press conference immediately after the event.

“It shows you it’s a serious fight that we have to wage, in Iraq there are American servicemembers involved,” Carter said.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said the service member was advising and assisting the Peshmerga forces, and was killed north of Mosul.

“The casualty occurred during an ISIL attack on a Peshmerga position approximately three to five kilometers behind the forward line of troops,” Cook said, using an alternative term for the Islamic State group.

The casualty marks the third American to have been killed in combat in Iraq since the campaign against the Islamic State group began in September 2014. Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin died in March as a result of Islamic State group rocket fire on his fire base outside Makhmour, and Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, a member of Delta Force, died in October while supporting the Kurdish peshmerga on a raid.

The headquarters for the U.S.-led coalition released a statement shortly after confirming the service member died as a result of enemy fire.

The Defense Department has not yet provided any information on the identity of the service member. U.S. special operations forces are actively supporting the Kurdish peshmerga in northern Iraq.

Reuters reports the Islamic State group began attacking multiple Kurdish peshmerga points Tuesday morning, though it’s unclear if that offensive has anything to do with the American casualty. At the time Carter announced the death, those attacks were ongoing.


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