A U.S. soldier was killed in Iraq on Saturday when a rocket exploded near his position in the Iraq town of Makhmur. The rocket was fired by a member of ISIS. Along with the soldier being killed, other soldiers were injured in the attack. Officials did not want to release the number of injured soldiers, but he did say it was less than five. The injured soldiers were medically evacuated to a hospital to tend to their injuries. The official stated that “It was a lucky strike by ISIS.”
— Michael Harris Ph.D (@michaelharrisdr) March 19, 2016
Currently, 3,700 U.S. soldiers are stationed in Iraq as advisors to their military units. A unit of 200 special operation soldiers were deployed to Iraq in December. These soldiers are tasked with kill and/or capture missions against ISIS in Northern Iraq. The soldier that was killed in Makhmur was part of a group of soldiers tasked with preparing the Iraqi military to try to regain control of the city of Mosul.
This American soldier was the second member of the United States military to be killed by an attack by ISIS. Last October, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler was the first American soldier killed in the fight against the terrorist group. Master Sgt. Wheeler died during a mission to rescue hostages held by ISIS.
The battle with ISIS is currently being fought in two countries: Iraq and Syria. While forces are on the ground in Iraq, Syria is being bombarded from the air. On Saturday, 39 people were killed during an airstrike on Raqqa. At the time, it is not known which country is responsible for the airstrikes. Currently, Russia, Jordan, the United States, and Syria have been targeting different areas with airstrikes. An anti-ISIS group claims Russia launched the attack, while the Local Coordination Committees claim Syrian warplanes were responsible.
— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) March 19, 2016
Even though Russia agreed to withdraw the Russian military from Syria, Vladimir Putin stated that he would leave enough of a military presence behind to assist in the fight against ISIS. The Syrian truce that was established in February does not include the city of Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold.
The battle against ISIS in Syria has been losing control of their territory in the northern part of Syria. In the south, Syrian troops are making progress in regaining control of the city of Palmyra. Palmyra is one of Syria’s ancient cities that have major archeological pieces of history. ISIS has not been shy about destroying these ancient sites, attempting to erase history. Airstrikes in Palmyra on Saturday led to seven members of ISIS being killed.
— IBTimes UK (@IBTimesUK) March 19, 2016
In the summer of 2014, ISIS declared that the territory they controlled in Syria and Iraq was their caliphate. The attacks against ISIS from the air and ground have been working. At their peak, ISIS had a fighting capability of 31,500 fighters. Currently, estimates say that ISIS now has up to 25,000 soldiers fighting with the terrorist group. The decrease in numbers is due to combat deaths, fighters voluntarily leaving the fight, disciplinary actions within the organization, and failure to recruit new members like they were able to do previously.
The soldier killed Saturday in Iraq is yet to be identified. Military protocol is to make sure that family members are notified before the name of the soldier is released to the public.
Do you think the United States will increase their attacks against ISIS as a response to the U.S. soldier being killed by ISIS?
[Photo by AP Photo/Osama Sami]