A U.S. air strike claimed the life of one ISIS leader and five more members according to a CNN statement from Colonel Steve Warren, a representative of the anti-ISIS coalition.
“Several hours ago we killed an ISIL member believed responsible for the rocket attack that resulted in the death of (Staff Sgt. Louis) Cardin. Jasim Khadijah was an ISIL member and former Iraqi officer believed directly connected to the recent rocket attack that killed Cardin and wounded eight other Marines,” in his address, Col. Warren used a different acronym for the terrorist group that stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The attack on ISIS members was carried out by drones, according to a statement by U.S. officials. However, Khadijah, the supposed mastermind and rocket expert behind the U.S. Marine attack in March, is only acutely significant. One U.S. official claims Khadijah “was not considered a high-value target but rather a local leader.”
Prior to the strike on ISIS, officials confirmed the U.S. gained intelligence on Khadijah’s role in the attacks against the Marine camp.
“We have information (Khadijah) he was a rocket expert, he controlled these attacks,” said Col. Warren of the U.S. Marine fire base planted near Makhmour, a town between Mosul and Kirkuk.
ISIS Attacked U.S. Marines Fire Base
The Marines killed and injured by ISIS were part of the team stationed in Iraq to establish a fire base, the first of its kind. Only a few days after being fully operational, the base – which was not public knowledge – was attacked by the terrorist group. A U.S. spokesperson told CNN they believe ISIS observed the U.S. Marine Corps troops moving into the area and firing practice rounds.
On March 19, two rockets were fired at the base, one fell inside and killed Cardin. Cardin, was a Staff Sergeant from Temecula, California. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
“The loss of a Marine is sad, but I thought about it: He was leading his Marines in combat. They were in indirect fire and he made sure everybody got in the bunker, and he just didn’t make it in time. Is that sad? That’s sad. But if you’re going to go, you want to go in the fight.” General Robert Neller stated at a Marine Corps Association dinner in March, according to Military.
Since the initial rocket attack on the fire base in March, the United States Kara Sora Counter Fire Complex has been attacked several times by ISIS members. The attacks have claimed the lives of some Iraqi and Peshmerga soldiers.
U.S. Marines-Iraqi Fire Base Details
The Pentagon renamed the base after the initial rocket attack by ISIS. A defense official claims the change was to clarify the reason for the fire base – to conduct defensive missions. Built in a remote location in Iraq, Kara Sora is operated by about 200 U.S. Marines using artillery guns. The temporary encampment is used to protect infantry from enemy forces and defend another base, where Americans are training around 5,000 Iraqi soldiers to reclaim Mosul. The Marines will also reportedly support the Iraqi troops while traveling the long distances in the field to Mosul, which is currently under ISIS control.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lisa Grande states, “As we look at the likely scenario facing us in the coming months, we know we don’t have the capacity or the funding to deal with this. We are deeply worried if the destruction is extensive, people who have been displaced won’t be able to return to their homes for months, if not longer.”
Iraqi soldiers started the journey to Mosul on March 24 with U.S. support. Weigh in, do you think this is the first step towards a round of U.S. Marine combat in Iraq with focus on ISIS?
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]