US Soildier Killed By ISIS As Special Forces Rescues 70 Iraqi Hostages In Iraq

A U.S soldier has been killed in a Special Operations raid that rescued up to 70 Kurds held hostage by ISIS in Iraq.

The overnight raid, launched on a militant-run prison near the northern ISIS stronghold Hawija, has been hailed as a joint effort with Iraqi forces.

Five ISIS fighters were arrested and ‘a number’ were killed in the operation, according to the Pentagon.

The soldier is the first American killed in ground combat with ISIS, and the first killed in action in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew from the country in December 2011.

The rescued hostages included more than 20 members of Iraq’s security forces, as well as military and police.

The operation was launched ‘after receiving information that the hostages faced imminent mass execution’, according to Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.

‘People were chained to walls,’ one high-ranking military source told Fox News. ‘A mass atrocity was averted.’

The target of the raid was a prison run by ISIS militants in the mostly Kurdish province of Kirkuk, according to local reports.

American airstrikes were used to destroy roads leading to the site, to prevent militants making an escape.

The raid has been described as a significant joint strike against ISIS, as Iraqi and U.S. officials attempt to mount a wider counteroffensive against the jihadi efforts.

Hawija is a key focus of this effort in recent weeks, as an important ISIS stronghold.

President Barack Obama requested permission from Congress in February requesting authorisation for ‘limited’ ground combat operations against ISIS.

The raid reportedly involved American helicopters, Kurdish and American Special Operations forces, and airstrikes.

Sheikh Irfan, who said his nephew was among the Kurdish peshmerga fighters held prisoner, said a peshmerga official called his family today to confirm the rescue mission.

He said he was told that 70 hostages were freed, including peshmerga fighters.

He added that he was told that helicopter-borne paratroopers arrived at the scene.

This is the first confirmed U.S. operation to have taken place in Iraq, although others have been carried out in Syria.

In May, American special operations forces killed senior Islamic State leader Abu Sayyaf from Tunisia in a raid in Syria.

Since operations began against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, the U.S.-led coalition has conducted 7,603 airstrikes 4,933 of these took place in Iraq and 2,670 were conducted in Syria.

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Source: NY Times. Pentagon. MAILONLINE

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