Thu, 20 Sep 2018

ISIS propaganda video features U.S. soldiers being killed

By Sheetal Sukhija, Bahrain News
06 Mar 2018, 16:04 GMT+10

WASHINGTON, U.S. - A twisted propaganda video released by the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group, the October 4, 2017 Niger ambush was featured, which resulted in the death of four U.S. soldiers.

The Niger ambush saw four U.S. soldiers being killed and also raised questions about the team's exact mission in the African country. 

According to reports, the ISIS footage was taken from a helmet camera of one of the four soldiers and appears to show U.S. troops exchanging fire with ISIS-affiliated militants.

Further, reports stated that the footage shows the firefight between the soldiers and the militants continuing until the soldier wearing the helmet-cam is killed.

U.S. officials revealed late last year that a 12-member Army Special Forces unit was accompanying 30 Nigerian forces when they were attacked in a densely wooded area by as many as 50 militants.

The militants were believed to be traveling by a vehicle and were said to be carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. 

In the October attack last year, several Nigerian troops were also reportedly killed.

Reports noted at the time that the convoy was in unarmored trucks when the ambush occurred on a return route from Niamey, Niger. 

The troops are said to have concluded the mission and stopped in a village for a short time to get food and water, leaving from there soon after. 

Statements released by the U.S. military stated that someone in the village may have tipped off attackers to the presence of U.S. commandos and Nigerian forces in the area, setting the deadly ambush in motion.

U.S. military officials had stated that 25-year-old Sgt. La David Johnson, 35-year-old Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 39-year-old Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, and 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright were killed in the attack. 

Further, Johnson’s body wasn’t found until two days after the assault.

The footage released by ISIS begins with members from Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin terror group pledging their allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and reports noted that the militants were formerly affiliated with Al Qaeda.

In addition, the video shows the soldiers taking position behind a truck during the firefight. 

The men are seen releasing colored smoke grenades and attempting to run to nearby trees for additional coverage. 

Further, the soldier wearing the helmet is believed to have fallen after apparently being mortally wounded.

According to the SOFREP News website, "news and intelligence from Spec-Ops veterans," posted the video scrubbed of its original audio "because it features a typical Islamic State extremist propaganda soundtrack paired with added false screams." 

The site reported that the video should be viewed to "honor these men by watching their last stand, not by turning away; they were true warriors to the end."

In an official statement in reaction to the video, the Pentagon confirmed it is aware of the video but did not confirm its authenticity and pointed out that these videos are "desperate recruiting" tools.

It said in its statement, "The release of these materials demonstrates the depravity of the enemy we are fighting.”

So far, the Pentagon has refused to release details about the exact mission of the team and U.S. officials have only said that the joint U.S.-Niger patrol had been asked to assist a second American commando team hunting for a senior ISIS member.

Later this week, the Pentagon is, however, expected to release a report on the mission of the particular team.

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