US soldier killed in Iraq raid is brought home

October 25, 2015 01:00

The remains of the US commando killed in a special operations raid this week against the Islamic State was brought home to the United States on Saturday (October 24).

According to US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler rushed into a firefight to rescue captive Kurdish forces on Thursday.Wheeler, 39, from Roland, Oklahoma, was killed during an overnight mission to rescue hostages held by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq, becoming the first American to die in combat in Iraq since 2011.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a news briefing on Friday that US troops were not planning to enter the compound, and were there only to advise and assist Kurdish fighters, known as peshmerga. But when a firefight ensued, Wheeler ran to help Kurdish troops, Carter said.

Wheeler was awarded the Purple Heart after his death, according to an Army statement.

Around 70 hostages were rescued in the action, which targeted an Islamic State prison around 7 km (4 miles) north of the town of Hawija.

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