Ashton Carter killed

According to media reports Tuesday, an American serviceman has been killed in Iraq, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said on Tuesday, marking the third U.S. combat death in the country during the campaign against the Islamic State.

Ashton Carter announced the death during a visit to Stuttgart, Germany. U.S. Central Command said the service member was killed in northern Iraq as a result of “enemy fire.”

The U.S. military adviser was killed at around 9:30 a.m. after Islamic State forces penetrated a front line of Kurdish peshmerga forces about 20 miles north of Mosul, said a U.S. military official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information publicly.

Ashton Carter who was about 2-3 miles from the front lines, was killed by “direct fire,” the official said. No other coalition casualties were reported in the attack, which involved Islamic State “truck bombs supported by infantry,” he said.

American advisers in Iraq are moving out of the confines of more established Iraqi bases to give closer support to troops as they attempt to push forward towards the Islamic State’s stronghold of Mosul. But that is also putting U.S. troops closer to danger.

Some 200 U.S. Marines are now stationed less than 10 miles from the frontline, near the northern town of Makhmour, where Iraqi troops are building up for a future Mosul offensive. Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin was killed there in a March 19 rocket attack. Carter did not provide further details of the new combat death on Tuesday.

In October, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler died assisting Kurdish forces on an Islamic State prison near the Iraqi city of Hawija.