Watch: Footage shows US, Kurdish forces raiding ISIS prison
Incredible first-person video has emerged showing a dramatic joint US-Kurdish raid at an ISIS prison in Iraq last Thursday.
The mission took place in the northern Iraqi town of Hawija, and involved both American and Kurdish Peshmerga special forces.
It was the first documented case of US ground forces taking part in front lineoperations against ISIS, and also resulted in the first US soldier killed in action in Iraq since the US officially started its operations against ISIS last year. Three Kurdish fighters were also wounded in the operation, Kurdish sources said.
70 prisoners were freed in the raid, but US sources say they were not the prisoners they had expected to find.
Some 40 ISIS fighters were killed during the operation, and five were captured alive. American military officials say they gained valuable intelligence, even though the prisoners were not the ones it had hoped to free.
Kurdish officials reportedly requested the dramatic mission – in which American military helicopters were used to transport soldiers to the location – after receiving intelligence suggesting a group of Peshmerga fighters were to be imminently executed by ISIS.
The fate of those Kurdish fighters is still unknown.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook cautioned that the operation was a one-off due to the imminent danger to the lives of the captives, rather than a sign of increased US army involvement on the ground.
“This was a unique circumstance in which very close partners of the United States made a specific request for our assistance,” he said, according to the New York Times. “So I would not suggest that this is something that’s going to now happen on a regular basis.”
Some 3,500 American military personnel are currently in Iraq, mainly acting as trainers and military advisers for Kurdish forces.