New Video Purportedly Shows US-Kurdish Raid Against Islamic State

October 25, 2015 Updated: November 13, 2015

IRBIL, Iraq—The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq released a video Sunday purportedly showing the joint raid of a prison by U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga forces in which they released 70 hostages held by the Islamic State (ISIS).

The helmet camera footage allegedly shows the Thursday raid of the prison which was controlled by ISIS militants in the town of Huwija, 15 kilometers (9 miles) west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

A line of panicked men in traditional ankle-length garments are seen running past the camera, some with their hands up, as Arabic-speaking men scream at them, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” Gunfire rings out non-stop in the background. The soldiers as seen walking through a dark room with the ISIS’s trademark black flag draped on the wall. The rescued hostages are then frisked for weapons and led away.

U.S. and Iraqi special forces search prisoners inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija, 9 miles (15 km) west of Kirkuk City, Iraq, on Oct. 22, 2015. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
U.S. and Iraqi special forces search prisoners inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija, 9 miles (15 km) west of Kirkuk City, Iraq, on Oct. 22, 2015. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)

Officials later said about 20 of the rescued hostages were members of Iraqi security forces.

Army Master Sgt. Joshua L. Wheeler, 39, of Roland, Oklahoma, was killed during the raid, officials said. He was the first American to die in combat since the U.S. launched Operation Inherent Resolve last year.

U.S. and Iraqi special forces search prisoners inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija, 9 miles (15 km) west of Kirkuk City, Iraq, on Oct. 22, 2015. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)
U.S. and Iraqi special forces search prisoners inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija, 9 miles (15 km) west of Kirkuk City, Iraq, on Oct. 22, 2015. (Kurdistan Regional Security Council via AP)

The raid marked the first time U.S. troops were involved in direct ground combat in Iraq since the war against ISIS was launched in August 2014.

U.S. officials said the plan for the rescue mission had called for the U.S. troops, who are members of the elite and secretive Delta Force, to stay back from the prison compound and let the Kurds do the fighting. The Americans transported the Kurds to the scene aboard five U.S. helicopters. However, the U.S. troops were drawn into the fight to help the Kurdish soldiers.