US commando killed in raid to free hostages of ISIS in Iraq is named

Master Sgt Joshua Wheeler was from Oklahoma

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Friday 23 October 2015 15:15 BST

The US military has named the 39-year-old commando killed during this week’s raid in Iraq to rescue 70 prisoners from an Isis jail.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq said Master Sgt Joshua Wheeler, a native of Roland, Oklahoma, was killed in the raid against the Isis target near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.K

Mr Wheeler is the first American to die in combat since the US launched so-called Operation Inherent Resolve, its campaign against the Islamic State group, last year. He was the first American military personnel die be killed in Iraq since 2011.

The Department of Defence said Mr Wheeler died from wounds caused by small-arms fire during the operation.

He was assigned to the US Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The raid late on Wednesday targeted a prison near the town of Hawija and was undertaken at the request of the Kurdish Regional Government, the semi-autonomous body that governs the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said on Thursday that US special operations forces had been asked to support an operation to rescue fighters with the Iraqi peshmerga, the Kurdish region's organised militia. The Kurdish government later said that none of the hostages were Kurdish.

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