Iraq Developing: US-Kurdish Operation Frees 69 at Islamic State Prison, American Soldier Killed


A raid by Kurdish and US commandos freed 69 detainees from an Islamic State prison in northern Iraq on Thursday, at the cost of one American soldier killed and four Kurds wounded.

The US commando is the first American soldier killed in action in Iraq since the withdrawal of Washington’s combat forces in 2011.

The raid was north of the town of Hawija at about 4 a.m. It was carried out after information that the detainees would soon be executed, according to the Pentagon. Five Islamic State fighters were detained and several killed, the Pentagon said, while Kurdish military sources said six were captured and 20 killed.

The Pentagon said more than 20 Iraqi troops and Kurds were among those freed, but the Kurdistan Region’s Security Council said no Kurds were freed.

A resident of the Hawija area said this week that ISIS had recently executed 11 young men who were the sons or relatives of police officers or other Iraqi forces. He said their bodies had been hanged on a nearby bridge.

American and Iraqi officials said US helicopters flew Kurdish and American Special Operations to the site, as American jets carried out airstrikes to cut off roads.

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    • If you insist:
      US praises role of Iranian-backed Shiite militias in Baiji operation:

      Over the past several days, US officials have celebrated the capture of Baiji from the Islamic State. While doing so, they have praised the role that Iranian-supported Shiite militias have played in capturing the strategic central Iraqi city. These are the same militias that are responsible for killing hundreds of US soldiers just a few years ago, and many of these militia leaders are listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Additionally, the US is continuing to provide air support to aid these groups.

      Brett McGurk, the Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL [another acronym for the Islamic State], tweeted that the “US commends progress by Iraqi Security Forces and popular mobilization forces [emphasis ours] against ISIL terrorists in Baiji.” He also confirmed that the the US has launched around 130 airstrikes in support of these groups since August.

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