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Carter: ISIS hostages saved by US raid already had graves dug

Carter: ISIS hostages saved by US raid already had graves dug
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter gave new details Friday of the U.S. special operations raid in Iraq that saved 70 Iraqi hostages but left one U.S. soldier dead. 

The hostages — a mixture of Iraqi civilians and security forces — already had graves prepared next to the prison compound they were being held in, Carter said during a press briefing Friday. 

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"They expected to be executed that day, after morning prayers. Their grave had already been prepared," he said. 

He said the Kurdish Peshmerga had passed on the information about the prison, which also was "seemingly planned to be an execution center." 

Carter said it was not planned that U.S. forces would enter the compound where they believe hostages were being held. 

"The plan was not for the U.S. advise and assist and accompanying forces to enter the compound or be involved in the firefight," he said.  

"However, when a firefight ensued, this American did what I'm very proud that Americans do in that situation. He ran to the sound of the guns, and he stood up," he said. 

"All the indications are it was his actions and that of one of his teammates that protected those who were involved in breaching the compound and made the mission successful," he said. 

Carter said he and his wife would be welcoming home on Saturday the remains of the fallen soldier, Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, 39, at the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. 

"All I can say from the reports I've received, I'm immensely proud of this young man," he added.