Two American soldiers fighting Daesh in Iraq were killed during an operation alongside Iraqi forces, the coalition said Monday.
"Two U.S. service members were killed by enemy forces ... during a mission to eliminate a Daesh terrorist stronghold in a mountainous area of north-central Iraq, March 8," the coalition said in a statement.
In late January, Iraq’s military said it was resuming operations with the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh which had mostly halted after bases hosting U.S. troops came under rocket attacks and a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian commander.
U.S.-Iranian tension threatens to derail the fight against the terrorist group, which seeks a resurgence in northern Iraq three years after its military defeat at the hands of the coalition, Iraqi forces and Iran-backed militias. The tension boiled over when the U.S. killed Iranian military mastermind Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3.
The U.S.-led coalition, which is in Iraq to assist the military in fighting Daesh, said on Jan. 5 it was putting most of its operations on hold to focus on the security of its own troops as rockets fired by Iran-backed militia groups targeted bases hosting U.S. forces. Iran then fired missiles that hit two of those bases on Jan. 8 in the first-ever direct Iranian attack on U.S. forces in Iraq. Iraq’s parliament voted to press the government to eject all U.S. troops from Iraq following the killing of Soleimani, a move that Iraqi military officials say could jeopardize the fight against Daesh, in which U.S. warplanes provide crucial support.
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