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American killed as hostages rescued in Iraq, sources say

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This map depicts the country of Iraq highlighting the cities of Baghdad and Tikrit.

This map depicts the country of Iraq highlighting the cities of Baghdad and Tikrit. (Photo: CNN)

HAWIJA, Iraq —  An American was killed in an operation involving the U.S. military to rescue dozens of Kurdish hostages in Iraq overnight, two U.S. officials told CNN on condition of anonymity Thursday.

Seventy hostages were liberated in the operation, which involved U.S. special operations troops as well as Kurdish and Iraqi forces, U.S. officials said.

The operation took place in Hawija in northern Iraq’s Kirkuk province, one U.S. source said.

Further details about the situation, including the identities of the hostages and hostage-takers, weren’t immediately available.

The operation came more than a month after Kurdish security forces said the Islamist militant group ISIS kidnapped dozens of men near Hawija. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the overnight rescue was related to this early September kidnapping.

The Kurds are an ethnic group with an autonomous region in northern Iraq. The Kurdish Peshmerga, the military force that protects this region, has been fighting ISIS, which captured parts of Iraq and Syria for what it calls its Islamic caliphate.