Two US troops killed in Iraq died in 'artillery mishap', not from IS gunfire

Two US troops killed in Iraq died in 'artillery mishap', not from IS gunfire
The two US soldiers were killed in Iraq while carrying out a 'counter-fire mission' against an Islamic State group mortar position, the Pentagon said.
2 min read
15 August, 2017
US troops are leading an international coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq [Getty]

Two US soldiers who were killed in Iraq over the weekend died in an artillery "mishap" and were not killed by enemy action, the Pentagon confirmed on Monday.

"An army artillery section was conducting a counter-fire mission against an [IS] mortar site when a mishap occurred, injuring seven soldiers," Pentagon Spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said.

Two of the troops later died, but the wounds sustained by the other five were not considered life-threatening, with the Pentagon saying the incident is currently under investigation.

A US-led coalition is supporting Iraqi forces in operations against IS, notably in the north of the country.

According to the website - which lists coalition deaths and injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan - 11 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq this year.

In May, reports revealed Donald Trump is pushing for a long-term deployment of US forces in Iraq even after Islamic State group militants are defeated.

This could amount to a 'repeal' of his predecessor's decision to end the American occupation of the country in 2011.

Washington and Baghdad are reportedly in talks to keep US troops in Iraq after the fight against the Islamic State group in the country is concluded, US official and Iraqi officials told the Associated Press.

The officials underlined that the discussions are ongoing and that nothing is finalised, AP said at the time. 

"There is a general understanding on both sides that it would be in the long-term interests of each to have that continued presence. So as for agreement, yes, we both understand it would be mutually beneficial. That we agree on," a US official told the agency.

Abadi, partially confirming the reports, claimed the American troops would be "advisers" who will help Iraq's security forces maintain "full readiness" for any "future security challenges."

Currently, the Pentagon has close to 7,000 US troops in Iraq, many not publicly acknowledged because they are on temporary duty or under specific personnel rules.

The forces include troops training Iraqi forces, coordinating airstrikes and ground operations, and special forces operating on the front lines.