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A helicopter carrying coalition troops, Nineveh, Iraq, October 2016. Photo: Hemn Baban/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Two U.S. Marine Special Operations service members were killed while accompanying Iraqi forces on a mission to eliminate an Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold in northern Iraq, the Department of Defense announced Monday.

Why it matters: It's the first time this year that U.S. troops have died in combat in the American campaign against ISIS, which began in 2014.

Details: The deaths occurred while the joint mission was on an operation to clear a mountainous cave complex heavily defended by ISIS fighters, military officials told the New York Times. The Pentagon offered little information in its news release because the troops' families had not been notified.

What they're saying: “The forces trekked through mountainous terrain and eliminated four hostile ISIS fighters who were barricaded in the caves,” Col. Myles B. Caggins III told the Times in a statement.

The big picture: The Islamic State has lost all its territory, and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a U.S. operation in October. However, the terrorist group retains the ability to recruit new soldiers and is "still very much intact," according to Masrour Barzani, the prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan.

  • The U.S.-led military coalition created to combat ISIS temporarily suspended its operations for 10 days in January after the U.S. killed Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, forcing troops to focus instead on protecting Iraqi bases from potential retaliatory attacks.

Go deeper

2 mins ago - World

Blinken says he hasn't seen evidence Hamas was in AP building Israel struck

Smoke rises after sraeli forces destroyed building in Gaza City where Al-Jazeera and Associated Press had their offices. Photo: Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday he had not seen evidence that Hamas was operating in a building that housed offices for Al Jazeera, the AP and other media in the Gaza Strip, as the Israeli government has claimed, AP reports.

Why it matters: Israel has said the presence of a Hamas military intelligence office justified an airstrike that destroyed the 12-story building on Saturday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday that Israeli intelligence had shared proof with the U.S.

AT&T spins off WarnerMedia, forming new media behemoth with Discovery

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AT&T and Discovery have agreed to create a joint venture that would house WarnerMedia’s premium entertainment, sports and news assets with Discovery's nonfiction and international entertainment and sports businesses, the companies announced Monday.

Why it matters: It's a major course correction by AT&T. The deal essentially confirms shareholder fears that the company's $85 billion merger with Time Warner three years ago was not fully baked.

1 hour ago - Health

Child tax credits from COVID relief plan to begin arriving July 15

Biden arrives in the Rose Garden on May 13. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The expanded monthly child tax credit introduced in President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package will begin arriving in parents' bank accounts on July 15, the White House said Monday.

Why it matters: The credit, part of the administration's plan to transform the country's social safety net in the wake of the pandemic, would provide families with $300 monthly cash payments per child up to age 5 and $250 for children ages 6–17.