December 7, 2014

A KILL RATIO THEY CAN'T AFFORD:

Luke Somers Raid in Yemen: How It Went Wrong (ADAM ENTOUS, Dec. 6, 2014, 2014, WSJ)

To try and preserve the element of surprise, the rescue team landed about five miles away and hiked to the targeted compound through hilly, rough terrain, officials said.

The moon overhead was diminishing in brightness at the time of the operation, which took place at around 1 a.m. Saturday, or 5 p.m. Eastern time Friday. Usually, military planners prefer to carry out such stealthy missions on nights with little to no moonlight.

For days, U.S. intelligence agencies had kept close watch on the location, figuring out how many militants were there and fine-tuning plans for the raid. The large Special Operations team approached without incident to within about 100 yards of the outer compound wall when their cover was blown. [...]

Immediately after the firefight broke out at the entrance to the main compound, one of the AQAP militants rushed inside the building where the hostages were being held, according to U.S. officials briefed on the operation.

The militant was inside for only a few moments. He then ran out. U.S. officials couldn't see what was happening inside the building but believe that is when the two hostages were shot.

U.S. officials said they don't believe stray bullets fired by the U.S. rescue team could have reached the hostages because there was a wall separating the commandos from the building where they were held.

When the Special Operations team, which included medics, entered the building, the two hostages were still alive. The medics immediately started to work to stop the bleeding.

Less than 30 minutes after the firefight first broke out, the two wounded hostages were evacuated under fire from the compound and loaded onto a nearby V-22 Osprey aircraft, which had a surgical team onboard.

One of the hostages died on the Osprey.

The other died on an operating table aboard the USS Makin Island, an amphibious assault ship that was positioned just off the coast of Yemen.

U.S. officials declined to identify which of the hostages died on the Osprey and which died on the ship.

The U.S. military believes about six AQAP militants were killed during the firefight, but they don't know for sure. The U.S. thought some civilians might have lived inside the compound, but the commandos didn't report encountering any during the raid, officials said.

The commandos emerged unscathed.

For al-Qaeda, every mission is a suicide mission.


MORE:
US drone strikes kill 13 alleged militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan (Associated Press, 7 December 2014)

A suspected US drone strike on a Pakistani Taliban compound in North Waziristan tribal region killed at least four alleged militants on Sunday, officials said.

Another suspected US drone strike in Afghanistan, meanwhile, killed nine alleged Pakistani Taliban fighters in a rural village near the mountainous border between the two countries, a local official said.

In Pakistan, two missiles fired from a drone hit a compound in the village of Khara Tanga in the Datta Khel area, two Pakistani intelligence officials said. The strike also wounded two militants, they said. The officials said Pakistani Taliban linked to commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur used the compound, but it wasn't immediately known whether Bahadur was there at the time of the strike.

"There is (suspicion) that an important commander was within the compound when missiles struck but this is yet to be verified," one of the intelligence officials said.


Posted by at December 7, 2014 9:24 AM
  

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