US-led coalition: Service member killed in explosion in Iraq - WFSB 3 Connecticut

US-led coalition: Service member killed in explosion in Iraq

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BAGHDAD (AP) - The U.S.-led coalition said on Monday that a service member was killed and another was wounded the previous day in Iraq when an explosion from a booby-trapped device struck their vehicle.

According to U.S. officials, the service members were both American. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

So far, seven American servicemen have been killed in Iraq in the fight against the Islamic State group, including two in the battle to retake the northern city of Mosul.

Additionally, a French paratrooper was killed in the fight against IS last month, though officials did not specify if the individual died in Iraq or Syria.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in August that more than 1,200 Iraqi forces were killed in the battle for Mosul and more than 6,000 were wounded.

In July, Iraq's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, declared victory against IS in Mosul. The following month, the Iraqi military retook the IS-held town of Tal Afar.

Iraqi forces, backed by the U.S.-led coalition, are now fighting to retake the Islamic State-held town of Hawija, 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

Hawija is one of the last pockets of IS-held territory in Iraq. Iraqi forces are also fighting the extremists in the western province of Anbar where IS launched a counterattack against Iraqi forces holding the provincial capital of Ramadi last week. The city had been declared "fully liberated" from the group in Feb. 2016.

The U.S. launched military operations against IS in August 2014. IS fighters began growing in power in Iraq in early 2014 in the country's west and in the summer of 2014 swept across much of the country's north, capturing a third of Iraq's territory.

Since the beginning of the U.S. campaign against IS in Iraq, the number of U.S. troops in the country has steadily grown.

There are now more U.S. forces in Iraq than any time since the 2011 U.S. withdrawal, marking an intensifying war as Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition work to push IS out of the last pockets of territory the extremists control in Iraq.

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