A joint effort by American and Iraqi forces managed to save dozens of hostages that were being detained by the Islamic State in Iraq. According to the Pentagon, many of these hostages were set to be executed by ISIS.
In the raid, one American soldier was killed, representing the first American soldier killed in Iraq since the United States largely withdrew from the country in 2011.
The operation took place early Thursday morning in the town of Hawija in Northern Iraq.
The town of Hawija is located in the Kirkuk province of Iraq, and it is known for having a large Kurdish population.
While an American soldier was lost, the attack has largely been considered to be a success. Five key members of ISIS were captured, and other ISIS members were killed.
Additionally, the raid managed to free 70 hostages that were being held, including 20 who are members of the Iraqi security forces. Many of these hostages were going to be executed.
The target of the raid was a prison that was being controlled by ISIS.
Kurdish Special Forces took the lead of the raid through the air, while American troops supported them from the ground.
Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook said, “This operation was deliberately planned and launched after receiving information that the hostages faced imminent mass execution. It was authorized consistent with our counter-ISIS effort to train, advise and assist Iraqi forces.”
The American soldier that was killed was apparently shot by ISIS forces during the raid.
The leader of the United States Military’s Central Command General Lloyd Austin said, “We deeply mourn the loss of one of our own who died while supporting his Iraqi comrades engaged in a tough fight.”
The soldier that died in combat has not yet been identified.
A coalition led by the United States has been attacking ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria through airstrikes for more than a year.
The prison raid came as Iraqi and Kurdish forces have been trying to capture territory that has been seized by ISIS.