An American service member was killed in the fight to retake Mosul from ISIS, the Department of Defense announced Saturday.
The soldier died as a result of “wounds sustained in an explosive device blast” outside of Iraq’s second-largest city, a Pentagon bulletin said.
— Military Times (@MilitaryTimes) April 29, 2017
Saturday’s loss is the second American military death since operations against Mosul began late last year.
Navy chief petty officer Jason C. Finan, 34, of Anaheim, Calif., was killed in October a roadside bomb attack north of Mosul.
ISIS has made Mosul the last city in northern Iraq where ISIS forces have gathered. A U.S.-led coalition that includes Iraqi and Kurdish fighters has been slowly working its way toward the city.
“The city is completely surrounded and ISIS is losing territory every day,” Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the Operation Inherent Resolve, said Thursday.
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Although officials on Saturday did not explain how the American service member died, Dorrian had earlier said that ISIS has adopted new tactic.
“What we’ve seen in Mosul is that the enemy is using commercial, off-the-shelf drones, mainly, but also improvised drones to surveil the areas where the Iraqi security forces are advancing, and they also use them to drop, mainly, grenade-size munitions on the enemy, and on civilian areas,” Dorrian said.
“They’re really very indiscriminate about where they’re dropping. These are not really strategic capabilities. It’s not going to stop what’s happening on the battlefield, which is them losing, being pushed out of areas, and getting killed. But it does present a tremendous amount of danger to people on the ground when we see these,” he said.
There are currently more than 100 U.S. special operations forces embedded with Iraqi units.
Dorrian estimated about 1,000 Iraqi fighters are in Mosul, down from estimates of as many as 8,000 at the start of the effort to retake the city.
Despite the small number, Dorrian said fierce fighting is ahead.
“I will tell you straight up what the result is going to be — every single ISIS fighter left in Mosul is going to be killed or they are going to surrender,” he said.
The death in the fight against ISIS in Iraq comes the same week as the deaths of two Army Rangers in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Joshua Rodgers, 22, of Bloomington, Ill., and Sgt. Cameron Thomas, 23, of Kettering, Ohio — both part the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Benning, Ga. — were killed Wednesday night after a firefight with ISIS.