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IED near Mosul kills U.S. Army platoon leader

A 25-year-old platoon leader with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division was killed Saturday by an improvised explosive device outside Mosul, Iraq, military officials said.

First Lt. Weston Lee, 25, died from wounds he sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated during a patrol outside Mosul, the Army Times reported. Officials said the incident was under investigation.

Lee, of Bluffton, Ga., was an infantry officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, N.C.

He joined the Army in March 2015 and deployed to Iraq in December 2016, officials said. It was his first deployment.

In a Facebook post, Col. Pat Work, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, praised Lee as "an extraordinary young man and officer. He was exactly the type of leader that our Paratroopers deserve."Lee was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal, the Army said.Lee's death marks the second U.S. military fatality since the start of the Mosul operation against Islamic State, or ISIS, more than six months ago, NBC News reported. In October, just days after the operation to retake Mosul was formally launched, Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan, 34, of Anaheim, Calif., died of wounds sustained in a roadside bomb attack north of Mosul.He was part of a team of advisers assisting Iraq's Kurdish fighters known as the Peshmerga.Lee's death also marks the fifth combat fatality in Iraq since the United States launched military operations against ISIS in August 2014, NBC reported.There are now more U.S. forces in Iraq than at any other time since the 2011 U.S. withdrawal, marking an intensifying war as Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition work to push ISIS out of the last pockets of territory the extremists control in Iraq.

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IED near Mosul kills U.S. Army platoon leader