Hostage Rescue - Iraq
June 8, 2004 - Iraq
In April 04, a group of foreign workers were kidnapped off the streets of Baghdad by Iraqi criminals. One of the italian hostages, Fabrizio Quattrocchi, was executed not long after that. The remaining hostages were Salvatore Stefio, Umberto Cupertino and Maurizio Agliana of Italy, and Jerzy Kos of Poland
When coalition forces received reliable intel on where the workers were being held, a daring rescue plan was put into play. On June 8th, Special Operations Forces, likely to be Delta Force, boarded MH-60k helicopters flown by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
Flying low over Baghdad's suburbs and freeways, the airborne armada approached their object, a building near Ramadi.
This building had been under close surveillance following intelligence received that the kidnapped workers were inside. This info is believed to have come from Polish units, who had received it from informers, was then shared with the Americans. The intelligence pictured was further enhanced by SIGINT operations which tapped and tracked the kidnapper's cell phones. It has been speculated that the ISA may have had a hand in both the SIGINT and subsequent close target reconnaissance of the target compound. The surveillance of the building established the kidnapper's routine, allowing for the rescue operation to be timed in order reduce the danger to the hostages inside.
Inside the compound, the 4 hostages heard the helicopters as they came in overhead. The MH-60Ks came in low and fast, flaring up at the last moment in order to come to a halt and allow the Delta operators to leap out. Seconds later, the rescuers were inside, clearing the rooms. The kidnappers were caught completely by surprise and offered no resistance and were rapidly restrained. The bewildered hostages were found tied up in dark and dusty rooms inside the compound. One hostage recounted how a SOF operator came in, cut off his bonds with a bolt-cutter and told him. 'You're mine', before leading him straight inside to and putting him on a helicopter.
The operation had been a complete success, due to both the painstaking work done by the various intelligence agencies to the rescue itself by US Special Operations Forces.
A helmet-cam video was eventually released of the operation : watch video of rescue operation