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Troops in Iraq see spike in ‘indirect fire’ attacks

As tensions with Iran mount, U.S. officials say they have noticed a spike in the amount of mortar and rocket fire hitting targets in Iraq.

No one has come forward to take claim, but experts contacted by Military Times say there is an ongoing effort by Iran and its proxy militias in Iraq to make things more difficult for the U.S. across the region.

Indirect fire and rocket attacks over the last two months have come close to hitting U.S. military bases and American interests in Iraq from Basra to Mosul.

U.S. military officials with Operation Inherent Resolve, or OIR, told Military Times that the recent spate of “indirect fire” attacks reflected an “increase” in the number of incidents. Military officials did not provide details on the number and nature of attacks.

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Medic Testifies That He, Not Eddie Gallagher, Was Responsible for Militant’s Death

A medic testifying in the trial of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher — who is accused of killing an injured ISIS prisoner of war in Iraq — has shockingly testified Thursday that he is the one who killed the militant, not Gallagher.

The medic told a court at Naval Base San Diego that he killed the fighter by asphyxiation. He also testified that Gallagher stabbed the fighter, but did not kill him.

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Esper (USMA 1986) heads to NATO during first week on the job as top Pentagon official

Mark Esper will spend his first week as acting secretary of defense in Belgium.

Late Wednesday evening, the Pentagon announced that Esper, who was tapped this week to replace Patrick Shanahan as the department’s top official, will travel to NATO for next week’s defense ministerial.

“As previously announced, Secretary of the Army, Dr. Mark Esper, will become the Acting Secretary of Defense on Monday, June 24 at 12:01 a.m. He will travel to the NATO Defense Ministerial in Brussels, Belgium later that week,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman wrote in a statement.

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SEAL war crimes trial begins

A decorated Navy SEAL stabbed to death a wounded and captive teenage Islamic State fighter in Iraq and then bragged about it, a military prosecutor told jurors Tuesday during opening statements in a politically charged court-martial.

Lt. Brian John projected a photo of the dead prisoner in the military courtroom, along with a text message that Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher sent to friends.

“Good story behind this,” Gallagher wrote. “Got him with my hunting knife.”

The defense told the jury that Gallagher treated the militant’s wounds and didn’t kill him. Attorney Tim Parlatore, who has claimed the text was an attempt at dark humor, said there’s no body, autopsy or any forensic evidence to show a killing happened.

He says the case was built on lies by junior SEALs who hated Gallagher.

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Medal of Honor recipient praises revolutionary neck injection treatment for PTSD

A therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder that some doctors believe will “revolutionize the way PTSD is handled” was the subject of a recent “60 Minutes” report featuring a number of afflicted veterans, including one Medal of Honor recipient.

The breakthrough treatment, called stellate ganglion block, or SGB, has been shown to significantly diminish various symptoms of PTSD, such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

By injecting an anesthetic that numbs a bundle of nerves at the base of the neck, the SGB treatment dulls the area that serves as the body’s “fight or flight” response transmitter, providing instantaneous relief from some of the epidemic’s most chronic symptoms.

The shot, which was initially used to treat women experiencing menopausal hot flashes, is meticulously administered using ultrasound imagery to track the injection’s precision. Its results, meanwhile, are almost immediate and can last for months.

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Mark Esper USMA ’86 Named Acting Secretary of Defense

Mark T. Esper is a 1986 graduate of West Point, where his classmates included Mike Pompeo, now the secretary of state. He was an Army infantryman who fought in the gulf war. He went on to work for a conservative think tank, then as a lobbyist for one of the nation’s largest military contractors.

And on Tuesday he was abruptly elevated from his job as Army secretary to be acting defense secretary, becoming the third person to lead the Pentagon under President Trump.

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Rockets land in Iraq’s Camp Taji, home to US military personnel

The Iraqi military says three rockets have hit an installation north of Baghdad used by Iraqi troops and where American trainers are also present. There was no immediate word on casualties.

The late Monday attack on Camp Taji, about 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of Baghdad, is the second on a military post housing U.S. personnel. An attack on an air base, also housing U.S. trainers, north of Baghdad on Saturday caused a small fire.

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U.S. releases photos to bolster claim Iran attacked tankers as 1,000 additional troops to be sent to Middle East

In an effort to bolster its public case against Iran, the Pentagon on Monday released new photos that officials said show that members of Tehran’s Revolutionary Guard were responsible for attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.

The images, many taken from a Navy helicopter, show what the Pentagon said were Iranian forces removing an unexploded mine from the side of the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman.

Officials last week said the move appeared to be an attempt to remove forensic evidence from the scene of the attack. But it’s not clear if examination of the mine would have made it definitively clear that the device was planted by the IRGC.

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Trial Set to Begin for Navy SEAL in Islamic State Prisoner’s Killing

The trial of a decorated Navy SEAL charged with killing an Islamic State prisoner in his care is set to begin Monday following months of turmoil in one of the Navy’s most prominent war crimes cases.

The court-martial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, which begins with jury selection, has included the removal of the lead prosecutor for tracking the defense team’s emails and suggestions by President Donald Trump that he may pardon the defendant.

Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder in the killing of the prisoner in his care and attempted murder in the shootings of two civilians in Iraq in 2017 in separate incidents. Gallagher says disgruntled platoon mates fabricated the allegations because they didn’t like his tough leadership.

His lawyers asked the Navy judge to dismiss the case because they say investigators and prosecutors withheld evidence that could help the defense and violated his rights to a fair trial by embedding tracking software in emails sent to them.

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