WASHINGTON – An American soldier died Thursday in a bomb blast in northern Iraq, officials at the headquarters of the U.S. military operation against Islamic State.
“Today, a U.S. service member died fr/ wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast in northern Iraq. Further info when available,” Col. John L. Dorrian said on Twitter.
Dorrian, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, did not say whether the dead service member was part of the U.S. contingent supporting the Iraqi-Kurdish offensive to expel IS from the northern city of Mosul.
The U.S. military has assigned between 100 and 200 personnel to back the push to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second city, which fell to IS in June 2014.
Though the Pentagon says that U.S. service members are not taking part in combat, they remain exposed to danger amid the chaos of battle and the lack of a well-defined front line in the conflict with Islamic State.
Iraqi and Kurdish units started their advance toward Mosul on Monday and have gained ground more quickly than planners expected.
But the resistance is likely to intensify as the Iraqis and Kurds get closer to the city, where IS fighters are preparing for urban warfare.