It could have been a scene out of an action thriller. British special forces, dressed in burqas to disguise their identity, cross into enemy territory and take out a top ISIS commander.
But it happened for real in Raqqa, Syria, the de facto headquarters of the Islamic State. About three weeks ago and just revealed, eight British SAS (Special Air Service) troops, travelling in an ISIS signature Toyota pickup truck and posing as the wives of top ISIS fighters, finessed their way into the heart of Raqqa in search of the commander’s headquarters.
Local Syrians working against the brutal terror organization, helped in the operation, driving the Toyota so as not to arouse suspicion.
After locating his house and assuring his presence within, the team used a transmitter to send its coordinates to a U.S. Air Force AWAC mission-control aircraft hovering thousands of feet above. The troops relayed the information to a U.S. Reaper drone, which, moments later, sent a Hellfire missile to vaporize the commander and a number of his underlings.
This video shows a similar missile attack:
Once the explosion was heard, nearby jihadis came rushing out to the streets, rounding up residents. Since the attacks took place about an hour before curfew, “gunmen were on the streets stopping everyone, lining people up against the walls and threatening to kill anyone who had helped the ‘spies,’” said one witness.
“The SAS team was moving back to their vehicles after the missile had struck when the town went into lockdown … Just as the British soldiers were getting back into a minivan several gunmen ordered them to stop. The troopers ignored the warnings and were about to drive off when the jihadis opened fire.”
At that point, the SAS team jumped out of their vehicle, lifted their burqas – under which were concealed assault weapons, grenades and ammo – and opened fire.
The witness described the shock of the jihadis. “One was killed instantly and two others ran off,“ the witness said. “The firefight gave the SAS just enough time to break contact with the ISIS gunmen and escape.”
Sources say operations such as these will only increase in the coming weeks, with 200 additional U.S. special commandos having arrived in Iraq last week. U.S. troops and British SAS and SBS (Special Boat Service), the Royal Navy’s elite forces, work together on these missions.
“The SAS will be sending more troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan now the Americans have increased their numbers,” said one source. “Their primary target is the individual who has been dubbed the new Jihadi John [32-year old Londoner Siddhartha Dhar]. He is at the top of the kill list.”