New probe launched into deadly IED attack in Iraq

New probe launched into deadly IED attack in Iraq
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The top U.S. military land commander in Iraq said a second investigation has been opened to determine who is responsible for the deadly roadside bomb that killed a U.S. soldier early this month.

“I’ve been able to complete an investigation on the type of munition. ... The prime minister of Iraq has directed a second investigation to try to determine who the perpetrators could be of that particular attack,” said Maj. Gen. Robert White, head of Combined Joint Forces Land Component in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Spc. Alexander Missildine was killed and another U.S. soldier was injured on Oct. 1 in Nineveh Province when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near their convoy.

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Missildine is the 13th U.S. service member killed fighting against ISIS since the start of the campaign in 2014.

White told Pentagon reporters from a video feed in Iraq that the bomb was an explosively formed penetrator, a particularly deadly form of IED that can penetrate armored vehicles. The type of bomb has been used over the last 15 years in Iraq and has also been seen in Syria and Afghanistan.

ISIS has not been known to use such an IED, and the explosion took place where the terrorist organization has not been for some time, raising concerns that another group or militia may be responsible.

“I don’t want to make any assumptions on which group perpetrated the attack until I see the results of the investigation,” White said. “But that particular spot has seen violence in the last month or two.”

White also said Iraqi forces have all but destroyed ISIS strongholds in the country.

Though the forces still must clear several population centers, ISIS leaders “know they are losing,” White said.

“They can see it coming, and they are starting to run away, and they are starting to ask for surrender, which is something you would not have seen a year ago. The physical caliphate has been destroyed. It will be finished off in another part of the world here shortly.”

U.S.-backed forces have also pushed ISIS from 80 percent of its self-declared capital of Raqqa in Syria.