ISIS Releases Video of Ambushing and Killing Four US Soldiers in Niger
ISIS has released a video appearing to show their fighters ambushing and killing four US soldiers in Niger.
The 9 minute, 15 second video ( nearly 2 minutes cut off ) appears to be shot from multiple helmet cams on the US soldiers who died in on October 4 in Tongo Tongo, Niger in an ambush by 50 ISIS militants.
The video reveals heartbreaking details about the courageous last moments of the four soldiers, although it is edited with multiple cuts that make the full context of the firefight unclear.
The attack raised questions about the US military's role in Niger, where about 800 US military personnel are stationed to train local forces and operate drones.
It also sparked a furious dispute between President Donald Trump and a Democratic congresswoman from Florida who claimed he slighted the family of one of the soldiers.
The ambush occurred as a unit of 12 American special forces soldiers and 30 Nigerien troops returned from the village near the border with Mali, where they had been hunting for a senior Islamic State member.
Killed were Staff Sergeant Bryan Black, 35; Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson, 39; Sergeant La David Johnson, 25; and Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright, 29.
The helmet cam portion of the video begins with the Americans pinned down under gunfire next to a tactical truck and a Toyota Landcruiser.
Together with a few Nigerien allies, the US soldiers move with each vehicle toward colored smoke grenades that have been deployed for cover and to alert air support.
It would be two hours later until French jets arrived to provide air support.
Soldiers walk next to each vehicle, laying down suppressive fire as the vehicles roll over the desert scrub.
After a cut, it appears that the Nigerien support personnel and tactical vehicle are gone, and three US soldiers are making a final stand by the Landcruiser.
The driver of the Landcruiser steers it from a prone position, with his legs sticking out the passenger side door, as two other soldiers move along side firing at the enemy.
One of the US soldiers walking by the Landcrusier crumples to the ground in the chaos. He appears dead.
The soldier wearing the helmet cam, who appears to be La David Johnson, checks the body. The driver of the Landcruiser jumps out and helps Johnson drag the downed soldier to cover.
A firefight ensues. Automatic weapons fire from multiple directions is heard.
Johnson crouches by the rear of the Landcruiser, the ground around him covered in shell casings. The other soldier crouches by the hood of the vehicle.
Johnson checks his weapon and gestures to the soldier by the hood. He appears to be out of ammunition.
He and the other soldier spring up from behind the Landcruiser and run for it.
The two soldiers sprint for some time within sight of each other. Bullets kick up puffs of dirt around the two men as they run. Gunfire is everywhere.
Johnson, wearing the helmet cam, screams and falls to the ground. The agonizing screams continue as he struggles to rise and falls back to the hard-packed dirt.
Blood pools next to Johnson as he lies on the ground. His breathing is quick and shallow.
Large-caliber machine gun fire rips through Johnson as he lies on the ground, blowing his watch off his wrist. The broken watch strap lies in the dust.
Three masked militants stride around Johnson armed with AK-47s. Gunfire rips through his body again. Blood pours onto the dirt in front of his face. The camera cuts off.
Additional video shot by the militants shows the bodies of two of the other US soldiers.
What appear to be the bodies of Wright and Jeremiah Johnson lie near each other.
Both men have been stripped of their helmets, body armor and boots. They have severe injuries to their faces and necks and blood pools around their heads.
There are indications of post-mortem mutilation to both bodies.
After the video's release, an online channel associated with ISIS encouraged would-be lone wolves to draw inspiration from it and attack citizens of 'Crusader coalition countries.