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  • The Kurds Are Mad About That Prison Raid That Got A Delta Operator Killed

    A Kurdish intel chief is not happy about the recent U.S.-Kurdish raid on an Islamic State prison in Iraq that resulted in the death of four Kurds and a Delta operator, saying the raid freed scores of the Kurds’ former enemies.

    The chief of Kurdistan’s Zanyari Intelligence Service, Lahur Talabani, said Tuesday the raid freed former high-ranking Baathist officers, reports Bloomberg. About 70 ISIS prisoners were freed in the raid. Most of them were initially thought to be Kurds, but the Kurdistan government later said they were not.

    Talabani said the freed Baathists are former high-ranking intelligence and military officers who were loyal to Saddam Hussein and have formed a group called the Naqshbandi Army. Saddam’s Baathist government brutally killed tens of thousands of Kurds to suppress various uprisings during his rule, including mass poison-gas attacks.

    Some of the released prisoners could provide useful intelligence for the U.S.-Kurd coalition, but in addition to being former enemies of the Kurds, the Baathist prisoners or their associates may have supported ISIS. As fellow Sunni Muslims with ISIS, the Baathists have reportedly been collaborating to some degree with ISIS.

    Talabani criticized the raid, saying it was conducted without his knowledge by a Kurdish counter-terror force. Helmet-camera footage released by the Kurdish government shows U.S. and Kurdish forces searching the prison and releasing prisoners over the course of the raid.

    The raid resulted in the beheading of four Kurds and the death of Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, the first U.S. soldier to die in combat in Iraq since the withdraw in 2011.

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