US soldier killed in Iraq

– Pentagon says service member killed in blast north of Mosul

– A U.S. soldier was killed Thursday in a blast in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said, according to Anadolu Agency.

“A U.S. service member died from wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device blast in northern Iraq,” according to a Central Command statement.

CENTCOM did not disclose the exact location of the blast nor details about the soldier but a defense official said in an email to Anadolu Agency that the blast “occurred in the north of Mosul” and was part of part of U.S forces enabling and advising Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces to retake the city from Daesh.

The soldier’s death is the fourth U.S. casualty in Iraq since 2014 when it launched an offensive against Daesh.

More than 5,000 U.S. forces are in Iraq to train and advice Iraqi troops in their fight against Daesh.

The Pentagon has insisted that U.S forces are not on the front line.

Iraqi forces accompanied by Kurdish peshmerga fighters and the U.S.-led coalition, launched an offensive on the Iraqi city of Mosul on Monday to free it from Daesh.

 For reasons both military and political, America must be an integral part of victory in Mosul. Approaching from the east and south, the Iraqi forces’s fight to retake Mosul will not be easy. While ISIS, or Daesh, knows it will lose the city, it hopes to make the Battle of Mosul as militarily and politically bloody for Iraq as possible. In that scenario, Daesh believes a tactical defeat will serve broader strategic interests. If Iraq is to prevent Daesh from carrying through its ambitions, the U.S. contribution will be crucial.