US soldier killed in raid on Islamic State compound

US soldier killed in raid on Islamic State compound

-NRN/Reuters

A member of a U.S. special operations soldier was killed during an overnight mission to rescue hostages held by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq.

Sixty-nine hostages were rescued in the action, which targeted an Islamic State prison around 7 kilometres north of the town of Hawija, according to the security council of the Kurdistan region, whose counterterrorism forces took part.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said at a news briefing the operation did not mark a change in U.S. tactics in the war on Islamic State militants, who pose the biggest security threat to Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

“I would not suggest that this is something that is now going to happen on a regular basis, but I do think it is symbolic of the kinds of efforts that we are taking on behalf of our partners,” he told reporters.

It was the most significant raid against Islamic State since May, when American special operations forces killed one of its senior leaders, Abu Sayyaf from Tunisia, in a raid in Syria.

The U.S. rescue mission unfolded amid mounting concerns in Washington over increasing Russian intervention in the Middle East.

The hostages rescued in the raid were all Arabs, including local residents and Islamic State fighters held as suspected spies, a U.S. official said.

The official told Reuters that around 20 of the hostages were members of Iraqi security forces.

“Some of the remainder were Daesh (Islamic State) … fighters that Daesh thought were spies,” the official said. “The rest of them were citizens of the local town”.

More than 20 Islamic State militants were killed and six detained, the security council said.

Islamic State called the operation “unsuccessful” but acknowledged casualties among its fighters.

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Amy Whittaker
Amy Whittaker 1402 posts

Amy joined the NRN team in August 2011, before graduating from a B of Arts (Communication-Journalism)/B of Sports Studies from Charles Sturt University in December 2011.

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