U.S. service member killed while on mission in Iraq’s Nineveh

U.S. Army soldiers stand next to a guided-missile launcher, a few miles from the frontline, in the village of Abu Ghaddur, east of Tal Afar, Iraq. AP

Baghdad ( – A U.S. service member advising Iraqi security forces on a mission was killed Saturday in the northern Nineveh province, the U.S.-led international coalition fighting Islamic State said in a statement.

“One U.S. service member died today during an Iraqi Security Force mission in Ninewah province, Iraq, while advising and accompanying the (Iraqi security forces) during a planned operation, the statement said.

It added that the name of the service member would be withheld until next of kin have been notified.

Some 5,200 troops are stationed in Iraq as part of a security agreement with the Iraqi government to advise, assist and support the country’s troops in the fight against Islamic State, which overran large parts of Iraq in 2014.

In April, Iraqi president Barham Salih said he does not see any “serious” opposition when it comes to the presence of American forces in Iraq, as long as they continue to be there specifically to assist Iraqi forces in the fight against the Islamic State group.

“They are here for the specific mission of empowering and enabling Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS. Nothing else. That is the specific exclusive mission, and in that context, I do not see serious opposition to the presence of these forces in Iraq today,” Salih told the Associated Press, using an acronym for Islamic State.

He said he recently led a conversation among all the major political groupings of the country and there is “general consensus that that Iraq needs that collaboration.”

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