The coalition forces in Iraq and Syria have officially begun phase 2, “dismantle the enemy”, of their strategy to defeat ISIS.
On April 11th Iraqi security forces claimed victory against ISIS in the city of Hīt in the Euphrates river valley. The ancient city fell to the Islamic State in October of 2014 and an offensive to retake the city was launched by the Iraqi Army in February of this year.
This morning U.S. Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, said “we estimate 75% is now clear and ISF will push ISIL completely out of the city in the coming days,” during a Pentagon press briefing.
Iraqi security forces have reportedly raised the Iraqi flag on Hīt’s government building and a lone surviving Iraqi tank crew is receiving most of the credit.
“There is an Iraqi Army M1 Abrams tank, a single tank that is operating inside the city of Hīt and frankly has been handing it to the enemy,” said Col. Warren.
Warren continued to say they have been “blasting enemy I.E.D.’s, punching holes in enemy defenses, and maneuvering between multiple engagements.”
U.S. forces who have been monitoring Iraqi Army movements apparently thought there were multiple tanks in Hīt and were surprised to find out it was all alone.
The Iraqi’s have nicknamed the tank crew “The Beast,” becoming somewhat of folklore to the people of Iraq.
The Iraqi Army did not intend for “The Beast” to bring the fight to ISIS by itself, but unfortunate circumstances left them as the “Lone Survivor.”
Three M1 Abrams tanks were deployed to Hīt and two of them broke down, according to Col. Warren.
Warren credits the success of the M1 Abrams to the tank crew and their training that was provided by the U.S. military.
“The Beast” can been seen in action in the Twitter video below.
— جهاز مكافحة الإرهاب (@iraqicts) April 12, 2016
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