U.S. Army’s Delta Force begins operations against ISIL in Iraq

Special to WorldTribune.com

Soldiers with the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force are on the ground in Iraq and have begun missions to capture or kill top Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) operatives.

“The only thing I’ll say is the (Expeditionary Targeting Force) is in position, it is having an effect and operating, and I expect it to be a very effective part of our acceleration campaign,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said.

The U.S. Army's Delta Force has begun ground operations against ISIL in Iraq.
The U.S. Army’s Delta Force has begun ground operations against ISIL in Iraq.

An Obama administration official told CNN the Delta Force “has spent the last several weeks preparing, including setting up safe houses, establishing informant networks and coordinating operations with Iraqi and Peshmerga units.”

Carter said the Delta Force will conduct raids, seize places and people, and free ISIL-held hostages and prisoners, adding the force would cause ISIL “to fear that anywhere, anytime, it may be struck.”

Sources told CNN that the Delta Force plans “to replicate the strategy that Special Operations forces used for years in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Delta will carry out raids on ISIL compounds and hideouts and, using intelligence gathered at those sites, forces will quickly attack additional related targets.

That strategy paid off in May 2015, when Delta raided a compound in Syria, killing ISIL operative Abu Sayyaf and capturing his wife.

In announcing the Delta Force deployment in December, Carter said that “this force will also be in a position to conduct unilateral operations in Syria.”

Carter told reporters on Feb. 29 that “momentum is now on our side” in the fight against ISIL, adding that he fully expects the U.S. to play a greater role in assisting the Iraqi military’s effort to retake Mosul.