The prison where ISIS was holding Iraqi captives before U.S. and Kurdish commandos rescued them — in a raid that cost the life of an American commando — was destroyed by a coalition airstrike, according to coalition officials, which released a video of the successful strike Sunday.
The video shows the target near Hawijah, Iraq, getting blown up on Thursday, Oct. 22. That same day, U.S. and Kurdish forces freed 70 ISIS-held Iraqis from the prison in a pre-dawn raid, according to U.S. officials.
"After all Iraqi and Coalition forces departed the Daesh (a local name for ISIS) facility with the liberated Iraqis, a Coalition airstrike struck the facility and destroyed it," a International Coalition for Operation Inherent Resolve statement said.
Oklahoma native Delta Force commando Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler was killed in the firefight. He was the first U.S. soldier to die in American combat operations against ISIS and the raid was the first known instance of American troops fighting ISIS militants on the ground. Three Iraqi special operations soldiers were also wounded in the mission.
U.S. officials stressed the raid didn't signal a change in President Barack Obama's vow to avoid putting American boots on the ground in the fight against ISIS.
In this instance, American military officials responded to a request from the Kurdish regional government in Iraq, which had learned that the hostages faced "imminent mass execution," perhaps within hours, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.
“The rescue of these Iraqis from a barbaric execution at the hands of their Daesh captors underscores the timeliness and importance of the counter-terrorism mission and highlights why we must degrade and ultimately defeat Daesh," Col. Christopher Garver, a Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve public affairs officer, said in a statement.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of Master Sgt. Wheeler, who died while protecting his Iraqi comrades-in-arms,” said Col. Garver said.