A U.S. soldier received lacerations to the face after coming under enemy fire early Wednesday, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday.
The soldier, whose name was not released, was shot at while in a guard tower in Besmaya, south of Baghdad, said Army Col. Steve Warren. It marks the first time that an American service member has been wounded by ground fire since the Pentagon sent troops to Iraq last year as part of an international effort to defeat the Islamic State militant group that swept through the country last year.
The injury is not life-threatening, Warren said. It was not clear whether the soldier was hit with bullet fragmentation from a round that had ricocheted, or debris kicked up by the incoming fire.
The incident highlights that U.S. troops still face dangers in Iraq, even though U.S. officials say they are there in a non-combat role as trainers and advisers. Besemaya is home to one of the training sites at which U.S. troops are training Iraqi forces for combat, and the Americans provide their own security, Warren said.
The soldier who was wounded and another American returned fire after coming under attack, Warren said.