The first American military member has been killed in the US-led offensive against the ISIL terrorist group in Iraq, the Pentagon announced on Friday.
Lance Cpl. Sean P. Neal of Riverside, California, was killed in Baghdad on Thursday during what described by the Pentagon as a noncombat-related incident.
However, the death of the 19-year-old soldier is being investigated, the US Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Neal was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. He was fighting against ISIL militants as part of a Marine task force.
The Pentagon statement came as the US Navy said early in October that Cpl. Jordan L. Spears, 21, who ejected from an Osprey troop transporter in the Persian Gulf, died as the first marine in the campaigns.
Spears was first “presumed lost at sea,” but was eventually identified by the Corps on October 3 following a long search.
Even the Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed the Navy report. Kirby said “there’s no question that this Marine’s death is related to the operations that are going on in some form or fashion.”
The Pentagon launched airstrikes against ISIL targets in Iraq in August. A US-led coalition also began military campaign against the group in Syria last month.
The ISIL terrorists currently control large swaths of territory across Syria and Iraq. They have carried out heinous atrocities in both countries, including mass executions and beheadings of people.
The Pentagon says the US and its allies have dropped more than 1,700 bombs in air assault on the group in Iraq and Syria. It added that out of 632 bombing raids, Washington’s allies conducted only 79 of the airstrikes.