The U.S. commando killed in a special operations raid on Thursday in Iraq against Islamic State was a 39-year-old soldier from Oklahoma, the Pentagon said on Friday.
Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler, of Roland, Okla., was killed during an overnight mission to rescue hostages held by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq, becoming the first American to die in ground combat with the group.
Sixty-nine hostages were rescued in the action, which targeted an Islamic State prison around 7 kilometers (4 miles) north of the town of Hawija, according to Kurdish officials.
It was the most significant raid against Islamic State since May, when American special operations forces killed one of its senior leaders, Abu Sayyaf from Tunisia, in a raid in Syria.
Wheeler was assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command headquarters at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He entered the Army in 1995 and joined the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in 2004, deploying 11 times in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a U.S. Army statement.
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Dan Grebler)