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Navy identifies SEAL killed in hostage rescue in Afghanistan

Navy SEAL Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque is shown in this undated family photo provided by the U.S. Navy. Checque, 28, of Monroe
Navy SEAL Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque is shown in this undated family photo provided by the U.S. Navy. Checque, 28, of Monroe

(Reuters) - A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in Sunday's rescue mission in Afghanistan that freed an American doctor kidnapped by the Taliban, the Defense Department said on Monday.

Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, died of combat-related injuries, according to a statement that gave no further details. He was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit.

Dr. Dilip Joseph, the U.S. citizen rescued on Sunday, was abducted on Wednesday in the Sarobi district of Afghanistan's Kabul province, according to NATO-led forces.

U.S. General John Allen, commander of NATO-led foreign forces in Afghanistan, said he ordered the mission in eastern Afghanistan when intelligence showed that Joseph was "in imminent danger of injury or death."

"The special operators who conducted this raid knew they were putting their lives on the line to free a fellow American from the enemy's grip," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement released by the Pentagon.

"They put the safety of another American ahead of their own, as so many of our brave warriors do every day and every night."

(Reporting by Lisa Shumaker; Additional reporting by Phil Stewart and Paul Eckert; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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