On Sunday, during combat operations in Iraq, two American soldiers were killed according to Pentagon reports which added: “initial reports indicate the incident was not due to enemy contact.”
Five other US soldiers were wounded, none of whom have yet been identified according to the statement. While the US statement offered no further details, other reports were emerging that may have shed light on what happened.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of U.S. forces battling the Islamic State group in Iraq, said the coalition “sends our deepest condolences to these heroes’ families, friends, and teammates.”
More than 5,000 U.S. troops are taking part in the war against IS in Iraq, according to the Pentagon. The vast majority operate within heavily guarded bases, collecting and sharing intelligence with Iraqi forces and providing logistical support.
But as the fight has evolved over the past three years, more and more U.S. troops are operating close to the front lines. In addition to the two troops killed Sunday, five other U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq in the fight against IS, including two in the battle to retake the northern city of Mosul.
A statement from the Islamic State said that they had carried out rocket attacks on the US led coalition troops east of the Iraqi city of Tal Afar and they killed four and wounded six. US spokesman labeled that report as “false.”
But other reports filtering from Iraqi sources claim that the US troops were doing a routine inspection of an Iraqi cannon when a shell inside exploded. Therefore, the deaths were not combat related but an accident.
In addition to the two soldiers who were killed on Sunday, two others were killed in the recent fight to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State.
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Photo courtesy DOD