US combat death in Iraq reflects intensifying war

May 4, 2016 12:27 AM

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STUTTGART, Germany — The combat death of a U.S Navy SEAL who was advising Kurdish forces in Iraq coincides with a gradually deepening American role in fighting a resilient Islamic State, even as the Iraqis struggle to muster the military and political strength to defeat the militants.

Over the course of the nearly 2-year-old campaign, the Pentagon has slowly expanded the American military role. The strategy, criticized by some as incremental and inadequate, aims to ensure that the Iraqis do the ground combat, supported by U.S. airpower, special operations advisers and others.

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