An American service member was killed in Iraq as a result of enemy fire about thirty kilometers (about 19 miles) north of Mosul, Pentagon officials confirmed Tuesday.
The service member was a Navy SEAL, a U.S. defense official told CNN, though the SEAL’s rank is still unclear.
The person was an adviser to Kurdish Peshmerga forces that are fighting ISIS and was killed during an ISIS assault “on a Peshmerga position approximately three to five kilometers behind the forward line of troops,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said Tuesday in a statement.
The Pentagon will provide additional information on the service member’s identity after next of kin have been notified.
The U.S. responded with an F15s and drones which dropped more than 20 bombs, according to a U.S. official.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter confirmed the reports Tuesday while speaking to reporters in Germany, adding that the death shows “it’s a serious fight that we have to wage in Iraq.”
Cook added: “This sad news is a reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform face every day in the ongoing fight to destroy ISIL and end the threat the group poses to the United States and the rest of the world. Our coalition will honor this sacrifice by dealing ISIL a lasting defeat.”
The death is the third U.S. combat casualty since the U.S. redeployed forces to Iraq in the summer of 2014 to adviser local forces and conduct special operations against ISIS.
Marine Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin was killed in March in a rocket attack on a U.S. base in northern Iraq. And an October 2015 rescue mission in northern Iraq had previously claimed the first American casualty, U.S. Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler.