Canadian special operations forces have been involved in a deadly firefight with Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq, a top Canadian general said on Monday. The disclosure marks the first official acknowledgement that western troops are leaving their forward operating bases and have engaged in combat in Iraq while training and advising Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

The Canadian operators had just completed a planning session with “senior Iraqi leaders several kilometers behind the front lines,” explained Canadian special forces commander Brig. Gen. Michael Rouleau during a conference call with reporters. “When they moved forward to confirm the planning at the front lines in order to visualize what they had discussed over a map, they came under immediate and effective mortar and machine gunfire.”

Canadian snipers quickly opened up on the targets “neutralizing the mortar and the machine-gun position,” he said. […]