First US soldier killed in Mosul operation

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A Kurdish peshmerga fighter takes his position behind a wall on the front line during clashes with ISIS militants. File photo

ARA News 

Naweran – A US coalition soldier was killed by an Islamic State (ISIS) explosive during the fourth day of the Mosul offensive. The unnamed soldier was the first American to die in the drive to remove ISIS from northern Iraq.

“On October 20, 2016, a US service member died from wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast in northern Iraq,” the US-led coalition said in a statement. “Further information will be released as appropriate.”

The American serviceman was killed alongside the Kurdish Pershmerga as part of a new operation, launched on October 20. More than 10,000 soldiers are advancing from the north and northeast of Mosul city. The Peshmerga’s immediate objective is to seize a stretch of territory from the Tigris River to the town of Bashiqa.

“The operation will be on three fronts, and follows recent gains by Peshmerga forces in east Mosul and advances by Iraqi security forces in south Mosul, both designed to tighten the noose around ISIS’ last major stronghold in Iraq,” the Peshmerga command said on Thursday. 

Operations took place near Bashiqa, Naweran and Tel Skof in the countryside of Mosul. A Peshmerga officer told ARA News that ISIS had lost 15 towns and villages. The frontline remains fiercely contested.

“The goal of this operation is the liberation of Mosul and this is a special plan for the Peshmerga to take this area part by part,” Peshmerga spokesman Halgurd Hikmet told ARA News. “Today there is an operation that includes Bashiqa, Qayarrah, and [Naweran].”

A Peshmerga officer said that ISIS had mounted a fierce defence in Bashiqa and Naweran, employing suicide bombers and snipers. Many Peshmerga soldiers were reportedly injured in both towns. According to the officer, operations in the Tel Skof front were proceeding apace.

Military sources told ARA News that ISIS has prepared at least 200 suicide bombers to impede the Kurdish and Iraqi forces that are advancing across Nineveh Governorate.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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