October 20, 2016 / 5:45 PM / 3 years ago

U.S. service member killed in northern Iraq: military statement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. service member died on Thursday from wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast in northern Iraq, the U.S.-led military coalition said in a statement.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the incident took place near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Roughly 5,000 U.S. forces are in Iraq. More than 100 of them are embedded with Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces involved with the Mosul offensive, advising commanders and helping them ensure coalition air power hits the right targets, officials have said.

The statement did not identify the service member.

This is the fourth U.S. service member to be killed since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve in 2014, focused on fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

The Pentagon this week played down any new role for U.S. forces in Iraq’s battle to retake Mosul and said they would be behind the forward line of troops. But as the United States has increased its presence in Iraq this year to help in the Mosul fight, officials have acknowledged Americans will be “closer to the action.”

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Yeganeh Torbati, editing by G Crosse and Cynthia Osterman

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