The heroes’ bravery has not been officially acknowledged as Tory ministers lean on defence chiefs not to acknowledge the secret ground war
Three elite British troops were hurt under fire from Islamic State thugs during a top-secret mission in Iraq.
But the heroes’ bravery has not been officially acknowledged as Tory ministers lean on defence chiefs not to acknowledge the secret ground war being fought by our special forces in Iraq and Syria .
The SAS and SBS soldiers suffered blast and fragmentation injuries as 30 ISIS thugs fired on them during a 25-strong allied special forces patrol in northern Iraq.
It is believed these are the first major military injuries of Britain’s shadowy war.
The British, German and US special forces mission was to hunt out terrorist positions outside ISIS-held Mosul and spot weak areas in the network’s defences.
During the patrol in pick-up trucks last week the crack troops wore local scarves and hid assault weapons in the floor of the trucks so as not to alert IS spotters.
But 10 miles south of the city’s airport the militants opened fire with 50-calibre guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
The terrorists blasted the soldiers from mounted machine gun positions on American-built armoured Humvee vehicles, stolen from the Iraqi army.
Within seconds a firefight broke out as the special forces men dived out of their relatively unprotected cars and fired back hundreds of rounds of ammunition with high-powered assault weapons.
To buy time an eight-man German commando team then obliterated one ISIS position with armour-piercing missiles, killing several enemy gunmen.
The ISIS gunmen were all killed in the 15-minute firefight and a following air strike.
A source told the Mirror: “The enemy were up to 30 strong and heavily armed. An air strike was needed to resolve it.”
The injured men were treated on the ground after being hit by rocket propelled grenade shrapnel then airlifted away and evacuated back to Britain.
They are now recovering from “fragmentation” injuries at a UK medical facility.
Sources said their injuries are “unlikely to be life-changing” but that they had a “very lucky escape”.
Their multi-national unit is part of the Coalition Joint Special Operations Task Force and made up of special forces operating in large numbers in northern Iraq.
Officially hundreds of British troops – both special forces and regular soldiers – are on the ground in Iraq training security forces there.
But they are actually hunting down and killing ISIS fighters in both Iraq and neighbouring Syria.
David Cameron recently pledged £2billion more for special forces – having cut the regular army by over 30,000 troops.
It is thought this is because less overt wars are now more politically acceptable.