Washington: A Navy SEAL killed during a firefight in Iraq was part of a quick reaction force that moved in to rescue US military advisers from an Islamic State attack, the Pentagon said today.
The attack triggered a massive coalition air response that destroyed equipment, buildings and killed up to 60 militants.
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Keating was shot and killed when he and other special operations forces went to the rescue of the US forces that got caught in a gun battle involving more
than 100 Islamic State fighters, Army Col Steve Warren said.
The small team of American advisers went to Teleskof, about 14 miles north of Mosul, to meet with Kurdish peshmerga forces.
Warren said that Islamic State fighters launched a large, complex attack on the peshmerga there around 7:30 a.M., with armored Humvees and bulldozers, and broke through the front lines.
It was, he said, one of the largest attacks that the Islamic State group has launched in recent months, and it came in the wake of several recent defeats of the militants in the region.
Warren, a US military spokesman in Iraq, told Pentagon reporters that the US advisers were less than two miles behind the front lines, and called for help just before 8 am.
The quick reaction force went in to get the American forces out. Warren said Keating was hit at about 9:30 a.M. And was evacuated for medical treatment, but "his wound was not survivable."
He said Keating was taken to a medical facility in Irbil and that both of the Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopters were hit by small arms fire.
According to Warren, even as the US advisers were being rescued from the fight, a barrage of coalition aircraft including F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, B-52 bombers, A-10 close air support
aircraft and drones responded and launched airstrikes on more than 30 locations, destroying truck bombs, vehicles and bulldozers and killing close to 60 enemy fighters.