WASHINGTON -- U.S. and Iraqi forces have rescued dozens of hostages who faced "imminent mass execution" by Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and a U.S. soldier was killed during the operation.
U.S. Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook said the mission took place October 22 at a prison in the northern Iraqi town of Hawijah.
He said 70 hostages in all were freed from the prison by Iraqi Kurdish troops working the U.S. Special Operations forces.
The operation was launched "after receiving information that the hostages faced imminent mass execution," Cook said in a statement.
Five IS members were detained and "a number" were killed in the rescue. More than 20 members of Iraqi security forces and others were freed.
The Associated Press quoted a Kurdish official as saying as many as 15 IS fighters were killed.
The soldier's death appeared to be the first for U.S. military personnel in Iraq since the United States withdrew its combat forces in 2011.