In November 2006, the ICTF (Iraqi Counter Terrorism Force) and their SF (Special Forces) advisors executed a nighttime raid in search of a missing U.S. interpreter. Intelligence reports indicated that insurgents were holding the interpreter in the Baghdad suburb called Sadr City. The raid targeted a known insurgent’s home and a large Mosque, both located in the insurgent stronghold.

As the ground convoy simultaneously hit the house and the mosque in the pre-dawn darkness, they were met with heavy small-arms fire. Elements attacking the house found 50 to 60 insurgents there. After killing most and wounding a few, all elements consolidated in the mosque to defend themselves against the massing enemy insurgents who were surrounding them. Once the assault force assembled and had overhead cover from an AC-130, they began their exfil.

Sniper elements also covering the exfil route had, for several hours, enjoyed a target-rich environment and had remained unobserved by enemy forces. As dawn approached and the assault force prepared to exfil, insurgents finally located the sniper position and began to engage with small-arms, RPG and mortar fire. The snipers remained in place and continued to fire on the insurgents, facilitating the withdrawal of the assault element.

Incoming fire prevented the snipers from withdrawing for several hours. An AC-130 initially provided overhead covering fire, preventing the snipers from being overrun. The AC-130 checked off station with the approaching daylight and fast movers (F-16s) picked up the covering role. Eventually the insurgents lost interest and incoming fire slacked enough for the snipers to exfil. The interpreter wasn’t at either of the targets, but there were no U.S. or ICTF casualties sustained that night. Insurgent casualties figures are unknown, but substantial.

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