ISIS releases shocking video which appears to show the desperate final moments and deaths of four US soldiers as ISIS fighters ambush them in Niger
ISIS has released a sickening video appearing to show their fighters ambushing and killing four US soldiers in Niger.
The 9 minute, 15 second video 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.
DailyMail.com is not publishing the full video, which is extremely graphic, but the withheld portions are described in detail below.
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.
The video opens with footage of what appear to be ISIS militants riding in light pickup trucks before the ambush.
An estimated 50 militants armed with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades participated in the ambush, which left 21 of their number dead.
Next, gruesome still photos of the bodies of the American soldiers flash across the screen.
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’, according to to SITE Intelligence Group.
Although questions remain about how the attack unfolded, the Pentagon has remained tight-lipped about the circumstances of the ambush and the nature of the mission while it conducts a probe.
The body of La David Johnson was not found until two days after the ambush, sparking speculation that he had been taken hostage.
The new video appears to support the military’s finding that Johnson died in a hail of gunfire, hit as many as 18 times as he took cover in thick brush, fighting to the end.
A medical examination concluded that Johnson was hit by fire from M-4 rifles – likely stolen by the insurgents – and Soviet-made heavy machine guns.
Johnson’s combat death led to a political squabble between President Donald Trump and a Democratic congresswoman from Florida after Trump told Johnson’s pregnant widow in a phone call that her husband ‘knew what he signed up for.’
Representative Frederica Wilson, was riding with Johnson’s family to meet the body and heard the call on speakerphone. She went on to lambaste Trump on cable news over his wording.
The spat grew to include Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly, who called Wilson an ’empty barrel’ making noise.
ISIS’s video reveals the final moments of US soldiers during Niger ambush
The nine-minute video released by ISIS on Sunday opens with a shot of jihadists driving around a desert landscape in machine-gun mounted vehicles.
It then cuts ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and members of the Sahel-based group Jamaat Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM) swearing allegiance to the ‘caliphate’.
JNIM was formed from a number of jihadist groups in West Africa in March 2017. The members initially pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda.
As a voice speaks over the video in Arabic, gruesome photos of the dead US soldiers are shown.
The video then shows images of an American training Niger troops. It is unclear how ISIS received the images, but it is believed that they were taken from captured Americans or lifted from the internet.
Two minutes into the video, the clip shows a US-led force, including a white truck with a mounted machine gun and an SUV, on patrol in Niger ahead of the October 4 ambush.
This video seems to be taken from the helmet camera of one of the soldiers that was taken by militants after the ambush.
As the clip continues, ISIS militants fire bullets as they surround the soldiers, a group made of 11 Americans and 30 Nigerians.
The soldiers try to hide behind their patrol vehicle before using colored smoke grenades in hopes of getting the attention of friendly aircraft flying overhead.
Shortly thereafter, the group suffers their first casualty as one soldier his hit by a bullet and falls to the ground.
Others rush to move his body to the cover of the SUV, but upon realizing the SUV has been disabled, the remaining soldiers are forced to make a run for it.
As two men run, the video cuts into a new sequence showing one of the men as he’s shot and killed.
After the soldier falls to the ground, other jihadists the body and continue to shoot him at close range.
The video then cuts to another scene showing the bodies of two men – bloodied and stripped of their guns and boots.
As the video ends, the clip cuts to a scene of several ISIS members on motorbikes and other vehicles.