U.S. Special Forces conducted a raid on an ISIS prison in Iraq and rescued multiple hostages. Though successful, an American soldier has been confirmed to have died during the operation.
In a daring rescue mission, American Special Forces raided a prison operated by the Islamic State near the northern Iraqi town of Hawija. The American soldiers were joined by the Kurdish commandos in the operation that was successfully executed on the Islamic State outpost. Though details are still emerging, it is believed the joint operation resulted in freeing over 70 hostages. Iraqi and American officials jointly added that the forces even captured a few militants in the process.
The death of the American soldier marks the first casualty in Iraq since the withdrawal of American troops from the region in 2001. The American military has officially declined to offer any comment or details about the daring mission that happened in the early hours on Thursday. However, as indicated by an Iraqi official, the mission was a covert and stealth offensive that was executed against the ISIS at a critical juncture when American Forces, in association with the Kurdish military, are trying to launch a much larger counteroffensive against the Islamic State, reported the New York Times.
Speaking about the covert prison raid, Najmaldin Karim, the governor of surrounding Kirkuk Province, said, “They cut off roads and raided the place successfully. They were able to take people with them.”
Karim was the one who first confirmed the prison raid did take place, adding that some senior leaders from the ISIS too were captured and many prisoners were freed during the mission. It isn’t clear who the prisoners were, but speculations are rife that the majority of them belonged to the region and may have been fighting for the current Iraqi administration and were perhaps prisoners-of-war.
Though ISIS prefers to execute the people they overpower, it is common for them to harbor prisoners or hostages if they believe the prisoners can accord them some advantage. The terrorist faction has been proven to have profited from trading female prisoners as sex slaves, and many strongly believe that the ISIS also uses prisoners to extract organs and then sell such body parts for a profit.
Though America has preferred to stay quiet, Iraqi officials added that the raid involved American Special Operations forces, military stealth helicopters, and air cavalry. The primary objective of the raid was a prison compound manned by ISIS in a small village east of Hawija. The officials indicated that for the raid, American Special Forces were flown in using helicopters and dropped near the site. Incidentally, the officials claim it wasn’t the U.S. Special Forces who were leading the raid, but it was the Kurdish Special Forces who were at point and relied on the American troops to offer perimeter security.
American Special Forces have been offering their expertise to the Kurdish military for quite some time, and the former may have asked the latter to lead the raid as part of a live training exercise. The Kurdish officials added that the American Special Forces executed airstrikes to disable the roads leading to the raid site. Thereafter, the Kurdish military raided the compound on foot, freed over 70 prisoners, and captured a few militants. Despite confirming the success of the raid, there has been no information about how an American soldier was killed, especially when the Special Forces were merely offering perimeter security and blocking the exits.
The raid on the ISIS prison is the first one to happen within Iraq. Though American commando operations have previously taken place in and around Syria, none have been confirmed to have happened in Iraq, reported MSN.
[Photo By Johannes Eisele / Getty Images]