US Increases Troop Deployment to Iraq, Identifies Marine Killed by ISIS Rocket

U.S. army female soldier in this undated file photo.
U.S. army female soldier in this undated file photo. | (Photo: Reuters)

The United States will send more troops to Iraq to support Iraqi forces and international ground operations, the Pentagon said Sunday as it identified the marine killed in a rocket attack by the Islamic State terror group as 27-year-old Sgt. Louis F. Cardin from Temecula, California.

An undisclosed number of troops from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will be sent, the Pentagon said in a statement, according to Fox News, which said the details of their mission were not provided.

The Pentagon also said Sgt. Cardin was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He died Mar. 19 in northern Iraq from wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his unit with rocket fire.

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Cardin was providing force protection fire support at a recently established coalition fire base near Makhmur, about 75 miles southeast of the Islamic State-stronghold Mosul.

Cardin was the second U.S. serviceman to die in combat in Iraq since the U.S. withdrew from that country in 2011. In October 2015, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, 39, of Oklahoma was killed in an operation to free hostages held by Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which controls territories in Iraq and Syria.

Several other Marines were wounded who are being ‎treated for their injuries.

"It reminds us of the risks our men and women in uniform face every day," the Pentagon said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the service members involved, their families and their coalition teammates who will continue the fight against ISIL with resolve and determination."

Currently, about 3,700 U.S. troops are on the ground in Iraq.

The day before Cardin's death, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command discussed operations to dismantle ISIS.

Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder gave an overview of this year's three operational approaches – coalition-enabled pressure on ISIL to isolate Raqqah, Syria; isolating and eventually seizing Mosul, Iraq; and stabilizing Iraq's Anbar province, according to U.S. Department of Defense.

Meanwhile, two Americans were among at least five people killed in a suicide bombing by a militant with ties to ISIS at a shopping area on Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey, Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today's terrorist attack in Istanbul," Ned Price, a National Security Council spokesman, said in a statement. "Two American citizens were among those killed in this heinous attack. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of those killed, and we wish a speedy recovery to those injured."

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