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    US Marines are picked up by a helicopter after conducting a cordon and knock in al-Qaim, near the Syria border, western Iraq (File)

    Pentagon Investigating Whether Friendly Fire Killed US Marine in Iraq - Reports

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The Defence Department is investigating whether friendly fire killed US Marine Gunnery Sergeant Scott Koppenhafer in Iraq over the weekend, media reported on Monday.

    The incident marks the first US combat death in Iraq since troops returned to the country in 2014 to fight the Islamic State terrorist group*, the Wall Street Journal reported citing defence officials.

    Koppenhafer was killed during an operation against a suspected IS target in the Iraqi province of Nineveh, the report said.

    The Department of Defense in a statement said Koppenhafer died on Saturday after sustaining injuries from "enemy small arms" fire during the operation. However, the Pentagon also said a probe into the incident was underway.

    The United States and its allies have been fighting the Daesh* terror group in Syria and Iraq since 2014. While Iraqi authorities have given permission to host foreign troops in the state, a campaign in Syria by coalition forces is conducted without the approval of the government or a mandate from the UN Security Council.

    * Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

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