AWIJAH, IRAQ – Coalition aircraft destroyed an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, prison after Iraqi hostages were successfully freed by Iraqi special forces, with U.S. forces partnered in an advise and assist role in support, near Hawijah, Iraq Oct. 22.
The counter-terrorism operation saved the lives of 70 Iraqi captives who were reportedly hours away from facing imminent execution by Daesh, as ISIL is known regionally, captors.
One U.S. Soldier, Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, was killed in the operation. Three Iraqi special operations soldiers were wounded.
After all Iraqi and Coalition forces departed the Daesh facility with the liberated Iraqis, a Coalition airstrike struck the facility and destroyed it.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of Master Sgt. Wheeler, who died while protecting his Iraqi comrades-in-arms,” said Col. Christopher Garver, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve public affairs officer. “The rescue of these Iraqis from a barbaric execution at the hands of their Daesh captors underscores the timeliness and importance of the counter-terrorism mission and highlights why we must degrade and ultimately defeat Daesh.”