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Pentagon Says U.S. Soldiers May Have Been Killed In Afghanistan By 'Friendly Fire'

Afghan security personnel stand guard at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Jalalabad in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar.

The U.S. military says the two U.S. Army soldiers killed during a raid on a compound held by fighters linked to the Islamic State (IS) militant group in Afghanistan may have been the victims of so-called friendly fire.

Navy Captain Jeff Davis, the Pentagon spokesman, said on April 28 that the U.S. military is investigating the deaths to see whether the soldiers were accidentally hit by ground fire from other U.S. troops or from Afghan government forces.

Davis said Abdul Hasib, the leader of Islamic State (IS) militants in Afghanistan, was the target of the April 26 raid in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

U.S. officials suspect the militant leader was killed but have not yet been able to confirm it.

Davis said about 50 U.S. Army Rangers and 40 Afghan commandos took part in the assault on a compound held by a group called ISIS Khorasan, an IS affiliate that operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He said the battle lasted about three hours and that an estimated 35 militants were killed.

The Pentagon identified the dead U.S. soldiers as Sergeant Joshua Rodgers, 22, and Sergeant Cameron Thomas, 23. It confirmed that a third U.S. soldier was wounded in the operation.

U.S. forces have been battling IS-linked militants in Nangarhar Province, where the extremist group has established a presence for its battle against Afghan government forces.

Nangarhar is the province where, on April 13, the U.S. military said 94 militants were killed after it dropped its most powerful nonnuclear weapon ever used in combat on what it said was a major militant command center.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters