The Pentagon has announced that two US troops have been killed by “enemy forces” while accompanying Iraqi security forces in Iraq.
US Central Command said in a statement on Monday that the service members were killed on Sunday during a mission against Daesh terrorists in a mountainous area of north-central Iraq.
The statement did not publicly identify them with the permission of their families, in accordance with US Department of Defense policy.
The Combined Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve also issued a statement confirming the US casualties.
“Two U.S. service members were killed by enemy forces… during a mission to eliminate an ISIS terrorist stronghold in a mountainous area of north central Iraq, March 8,” the coalition said in a statement, using an alternative acronym for the terrorist group.
The United States, backed by the United Kingdom, invaded Iraq in 2003 claiming that the former regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons, however, were ever found.
The invaders withdrew from Iraq, after nearly nine years of a military campaign that cost tens of thousands of Iraqi lives.
Leading a new coalition of its allies, the United States returned to Iraq in 2014, when Daesh unleashed a campaign of destruction in the Arab country. Widespread reports, however, said the Washington-led operations largely spared the terrorists and led, instead, to civilian deaths and inflicted damage on the Iraqi infrastructure.
Iraq’s army troops, backed by Hashd al-Sha’abi forces, managed to liberate all Daesh-held areas thanks to military advisory assistance from neighboring Iran.
Baghdad declared the end of the anti-Daesh campaign back in 2017.
On January 5, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by the United States from the country, following the US assassination of top Iranian commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis at Baghdad international airport on January 3 in Iraq.
Later on, Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said the parliamentary resolution to end the presence of foreign troops in the country had not gone far enough, calling on local and foreign resistance groups to unite.
“I consider this a weak response, insufficient against American violation of Iraqi sovereignty and regional escalation,” Sadr, who leads the largest bloc in parliament, said in a letter to the parliament.
The cleric said a security agreement with the United States should be cancelled immediately, the US embassy should be closed down, US troops must be expelled in a humiliating manner, and communication with the US government should be criminalized.
“Finally, I call specifically on the Iraqi resistance groups and the groups outside Iraq more generally to meet immediately and announce the formation of the International Resistance Legions,” he said.