US marine killed in Iraq counter-ISIS operation identified

A US marine killed in Nineveh province on Saturday while accompanying Iraqi troops on a counter-Islamic State (ISIS) mission was today identified by the US Department of Defense.

“Gunnery Sergeant Scott A. Koppenhafer, 35, of Mancos, Colorado, died August 10, 2019, after being engaged by enemy small-arms fire while conducting combat operations. This incident is under investigation,” read a statement from the DOD on late Sunday.

The marine was announced dead by the Combined Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) – the US-led international coalition to fight ISIS – on Saturday, but his identity was not disclosed until his next of kin were notified.

Koppenhafer was killed while “advising and accompanying the ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] during a planned operation,” the coalition said in a statement on Saturday.

ISF troops have, in collaboration with various other domestic forces, conducted a series of ‘Will of Victory’ operations, in an effort to eradicate the remaining ISIS presence in Iraq, who were declared territorially defeated in December 2017. The third phase of operations ended on Friday.

Missions have focused on areas disputed by Erbil and Baghdad – including in Nineveh province – where the group has been able to exploit security vacuums, operating through sleeper cells to conduct kidnaps, ambushes and bombings.

Separate operations have taken place in Kirkuk province, and by Peshmerga forces in Diyala.