ISLAMIC State fighters killed a United States serviceman in northern Iraq on Tuesday when they overran Kurdish defenses in the biggest attack in the area in recent months, officials said.
The dead man was the third American to be killed in direct combat since a US.-led coalition launched a campaign against the jihadist group in 2014.
“It is a combat death, of course, and a very sad loss,” US. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters during a trip to Germany.
According to Reuters’ reports, a senior official of the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga force said the man was killed near Tel Asqof, a town 28 km (17 miles) north of Mosul, which the militants occupied at dawn on Tuesday. Early information suggested he had been killed by a sniper, Jabbar Yawar said.
The leader of a Christian militia deployed alongside peshmerga in the Tel Asqof area said the town had been attacked by multiple suicide bombers, some driving vehicles laden with explosives.
A US military official said the US-led coalition helped the peshmerga repel the attack with air support from F-15 jets and drones.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the man was killed “by direct fire” from Islamic State.
Carter’s spokesman, Peter Cook, said the incident took place during an Islamic State attack on a peshmerga position some 3-5 km behind the forward line.