Meet The Iraqi Sniper Making Life Hell For ISIS Fighters In Mosul

news
SEARCH Editorial Advanced Search Media Type: Iraq Mosul Download Comp Tag as... Cancel Apply Back to search results25of704 results IRAQ MOSUL Overview Download now A Federal Police sniper aims towards Islamic State positions at a front line near the old city on the western side of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, March 22, 2017.
Photo via Associated Press

America loves a hero sniper. Consider Chris Kyle, the veteran Navy SEAL who became the stuff of legend well before publishing his 2012 autobiography “American Sniper,” with more than 160 kills confirmed by the Pentagon during his four tours in Iraq. Or Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart, the Delta Force snipers posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their bravery during the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, actions immortalized in “Black Hawk Down.” Or Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock II, who established a Scout Sniper School at Quantico, Virginia, after returning home from the Vietnam War. Alone with his rifle, the sniper is the embodiment of the one-man army.


Now, Iraq has its own expert marksman to celebrate: Yousef Ali, a 20-year-old Iraqi federal policeman who, with the help of a Russian-made Dragunov sniper rifle, is helping Iraqi security forces and the U.S.-led coalition take back the city of Mosul inch by inch, block by block.

[embed][/embed]

Since Western-backed forces began their advance on Mosul in earnest in February, six months after the initial military offensive by Iraqi forces, ISIS has put up fierce resistance with their own barrage of mortar shells and sniper fire — constant threats lurking behind burned-out houses and mountains of rubble. USA Today’s Igor Kossov embedded with Ali to get a first-hand look at the task facing the warfighters of the multinational coalition:

Through the small hole in the wall of an abandoned hotel, Ali saw the labyrinth of the Old City's narrow streets stretch before him.

Less than 300 yards away, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, prepared for another sneak attack, surrounded by civilian human shields. "The (ISIS fighters) are out there," said the 20-year-old Iraqi federal policeman, taking his eyes off the scope for a moment. "Just behind those buildings."…

"Two or three days ago, (ISIS) set some fires to make a smokescreen, then some of them came at us with suicide belts," Ali said. "I killed two of them."

Tales of incredible marksmanship in ongoing campaigns against the ISIS caliphate have become the equivalent of war porn for faraway observers. In January, British tabloids ran the thinly-sourced story of a SAS sniper who took out three ISIS fighters “prepared to fire into a crowd of women and children they had told to halt.” And who can forget the tale of 63-year-old Abu Tahseen, Iraqi veteran of five wars, who claimed last year to have killed more than 173 fighters since May 2015?

But that’s the beauty of the Kossov’s profile of Ali. The young Iraqi policeman is less a superhuman marksman and more a courageous young man doing his job — and following his training:

Ali said it had been his dream to become a sniper since he joined police basic training.

After 45 days of basics, he was accepted into sniper training, spending six months becoming acquainted with the specialization under Iraqi and Italian trainers in Baghdad and Fallujah. The training paid off when he was thrust into the Mosul offensive with his M-16 and Dragunov rifles, Ali said.

Of course, Ali maintains a friendly rivalry with his fellow snipers: After all, who doesn’t want to be the next Chris Kyle?

"We always hear everything that's going over the radio. So sometimes we'll say, 'Oh, I killed more (ISIS fighters) than you, you better try harder,'" he told USA Today. "But we all treat each other as brothers here."

"It's kind of like the equivalent of dropping a soda can into canyon and putting on a blindfold and going and finding it, because you can't just look down and see it," diver Jeff Goodreau said of finding the wreck.

The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.

The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.

The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.

Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.

Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.

Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.

Read More Show Less
(CIA photo)

Before the 5th Special Forces Group's Operational Detachment Alpha 595, before 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment's MH-47E Chinooks, and before the Air Force combat controllers, there were a handful of CIA officers and a buttload of cash.

Read More Show Less

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less

"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.

Read More Show Less

Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.

For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.

On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."

Read More Show Less