US special forces and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces have carried out a raid on an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group stronghold in Iraq and freed about 70 hostages facing execution, according to US defence officials. Aljazeera has more:
In a statement published on Thursday, the Pentagon said one soldier had died during the raid in Hawija, which killed “a number of ISIL terrorists”. “This operation was deliberately planned and launched after receiving information that the hostages faced imminent mass execution,” the statement read.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said at least 20 of those rescued were members of the Iraqi security forces and that officials were reviewing the identities of the others freed, adding civilians were among the group. “The US provided helicopter lift and accompanied Iraqi Peshmerga forces to the compound,” where ISIL held the hostages, Cook said.
The death of a US soldier is the first in combat in Iraq since the US campaign against ISIL began in 2014. According to the office of Kurdish intelligence chief Masrour Barzani, 69 prisoners were rescued, six ISIL fighters detained and more than 20 killed.