ISIS releases video claiming to show attack on US troops in Niger
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has released a new video purportedly showing the October ambush in Niger during which four U.S. soldiers were killed, multiple news outlets reported.
ISIS released the video on the messaging app Telegram according to BBC News. The footage allegedly includes video from a U.S. soldier’s helmet camera.
The nine-minute film starts with ISIS propaganda images — including an alleged pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — and ends with the footage from the Oct. 4 attack.
The footage cuts from images of pickup trucks filled with ISIS fighters driving through a desert area to video from the helmet camera showing U.S. soldiers wearing only light body armor around their SUV, firing at the ISIS attackers, Agence France-Presse reported.
The soldiers use red smoke grenades in an attempt to provide cover.
The U.S. soldier wearing the camera is then apparently shot dead, with ISIS fighters shooting at him and then walking past his body.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters Monday that the Defense Department is aware of the video but had not yet verified it.
Staff Sgts. Bryan Black, Jeremiah Johnson and Dustin Wright and Sgt. La David Johnson were killed in the ambush about 150 miles north of Niger’s capital, near the village of Tongo Tongo.
During the attack, La David Johnson was separated from the group and his body was recovered more than 24 hours later.
The soldiers were part of a group of 12 U.S. Army soldiers and 30 Nigerian forces when as many as 50 militants traveling by vehicle and armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades surprised them.
U.S. Africa Command (Africom) has been investigating unanswered questions about the attack, including whether the soldiers’ mission changed mid-operation and how La David Johnson became separated from the rest of the group.
The investigation has since wrapped up and the Pentagon is expected to release the findings this month.
Defense Secretary James Mattis, who visited Africom headquarters in Germany in February, described the report as being “thousands of pages.”