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U.S. Service Member Dies In Blast Outside Mosul

An Iraqi security forces mechanical digger operates next to buildings destroyed during fighting in west Mosul. A U.S. service member was killed in an explosion outside the city on April 29.

A U.S. service member died Saturday from wounds sustained in an explosion outside Mosul, Iraq, according to a statement from the U.S military.

The statement offered no further details.

Iraqi troops — with the aid of U.S. forces — have been fighting to push the Islamic State out of Mosul for the past six months.

It is the second American military fatality since the Mosul operation began, reports The Military Times.

With coalition forces surrounding the city, ISIS is trapped but so are thousands of civilians. NPR's Jane Arraf reported earlier this month, the U.S. and Iraq were changing tactics in the battle, repositioning troops and using fewer airstrikes in order to reduce civilian casualties. USA Today says militants are relying on explosives, car bombs and rigged buildings to slow the advance of coalition forces.

Operation Inherent Resolve is the U.S.-led operation to push the ISIS out of Syria and Iraq. The Trump administration has stopped disclosing how many troops are deployed in those countries, "In order to maintain tactical surprise, ensure operational security and force protection," a Pentagon spokesman tells The Los Angeles Times.

Saturday's death comes just two days after two U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan while conducting a joint U.S.-Afghan raid in Nangarhar Province.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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