The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) has taken control of a vast swath of Iraq’s western desert, and Iraqi army units have been fighting to regain control of the region, with some troops dying on the frontlines.
On Thursday, US troops in the Middle East were killed in action in a clash with the Islamic State, and the US military said its soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb.
The US military confirmed the death of two US troops, but did not provide any details.
The Associated Press news agency quoted the Pentagon as saying that the two US soldiers were “killed during an improvised explosive device (IED) attack near Fallujah.
The attack came after Iraqi forces advanced in Fallujah and captured the last major city, Ramadi, from ISIL on Tuesday.”
The Pentagon also said that it has identified at least 30 fighters, some of whom were wearing US-supplied uniforms and masks, and that US troops were conducting “counter-IED operations” to eliminate ISIL fighters in the area.
The Iraqi army, which was led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in 2014, retook Fallujah in a battle that was largely overshadowed by the battle for Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.
The fighting intensified over the weekend after Iraqi troops, backed by US and allied air strikes, seized the city from ISIL.
The battle for Ramadi came days after Iraqi government forces recaptured the town of Zumar, which has a population of over 30,000, from the militants.
Iraqi forces are now trying to retake the northern province of Anbar, which lies on the western edge of the city of Mosul, which is a major crossing point for ISIL fighters trying to infiltrate Iraq into Syria.