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German Military Training Chief In Iraq Found Dead

The German Defense Ministry says the head of its training mission in Iraq's self-ruled Kurdish region has passed away.

In a statement, the ministry said Colonel Stephan Spottel, 56, was found dead September 23 in his hotel room in the regional capital, Irbil.

It added that current available information suggests that "there is no indication of suicide or third party interference." It did not elaborate.

Like other Western countries, Germany has sent a military mission to train Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their fight against the Islamic State group, which controls about a third of Iraq and Syria.

According to Die Welt newspaper, Spottel’s deputy Colonel Jan Heymann has now taken charge of the German military personnel in Irbil.

Based on reporting by AP and