Marine is second U.S. combat death in fight against ISIL

Special to

A U.S. Marine was killed in a rocket attack by Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in northern Iraq on March 19, the Pentagon reported.

“Earlier today a U.S. Marine providing force protection fire support at a recently established coalition fire base near Makhmur in northern Iraq was killed after coming under ISIL rocket fire,” the Pentagon said. “Several other Marines were wounded and they are being treated for their varying injuries.”

U.S. troops are in Iraq to train and advise local forces.
U.S. troops are in Iraq to train and advise local forces.

It was the second U.S. combat death in the fight against the terrorist organization.

Makhmur, which is 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) southeast of ISIL’s Iraqi stronghold in Mosul, lies within territory controlled by the autonomous northern region of Kurdistan, but Baghdad has recently been deploying federal forces there to prepare for a siege on Mosul.

ISIL-affiliated Amaq news agency published a report claiming the Marine was killed when two medium-range Grad rockets were fired on a village called Krasur.

While the U.S.-led coalition’s main role in the fight against ISIL is to provide air support, the U.S., France, Britain, Australia and Italy also have significant contingents deployed on the ground in Iraq. Their official role is to train and advise local Iraqi forces.

The first U.S. casualty in the fight against ISIL occurred in October 2015 when a Special Operations forces soldier was killed during a joint raid with Kurdish forces in the Iraqi city of Hawijah.

In March 2015, a Canadian sergeant serving in the coalition in northern Iraq was accidentally shot dead by a Kurdish sniper who had mistaken him for an enemy target.