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On Wednesday, Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, held a news conference to release videos of the raid in northern Syria last Saturday.
One video shows a group of U.S. special operations forces moving toward the Baghdadi compound from at least two directions.
This image from video released by the Department of Defense on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, and displayed at a Pentagon briefing, shows U.S. Special Forces, figures at lower right, moving toward compound of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (Department of Defense via AP)
“They didn’t land right on the ‘X’,” said O’Neill, describing how the special operators were likely dropped off by helicopters, “a few hundred meters away” from the ISIS facility.
In the course of that operation, a modified Black Hawk helicopter crashed as the SEAL team assaulted that target deep inside Pakistan.
“I don’t want to give away too many tactics,” said O’Neill of the Baghdadi raid. “But they landed close and went to the wall to make a breach point,” he continued, observing that it appears that “you can see one person moving inside” the compound on the opposite side of the wall from where the U.S. forces were approaching.
“They approach from multiple directions to secure the perimeter and make sure that they can secure any ‘squirters,'” or enemies who may try to escape.
“That’s another reason that we have the dogs,” he added, “to chase those guys down.”
The Baghdadi raid video ends at this point, said O’Neill, because the methods used by the Delta Force team to breach the wall or otherwise enter the compound were likely stripped out in the declassification process.
A second video, likely shot from an Apache helicopter, according to O’Neill, shows an aircraft opening fire on a group of individuals outside the compound.
“These are guys are not necessarily ISIS, but they are insurgents and you can see that they fired at our helicopters,” he said. “Then they bunched up like a bunch of idiots and tried to hide behind a wall… An Apache can hit you from a mile away, you can’t even hear it, you can’t hide from an Apache behind a wall.”
In “The Man Who Killed Usama Bin Laden,” O’Neill goes into depth on his Navy SEAL team’s training ahead of their mission, and the moment it dawned on him that he was about to put his training into practice.
“After weeks of training, 82 minutes into the flight, I’m like ‘I’m on this mission and we’re going to kill him.’ The doors open and it’s not a training site in the mountains in the United States. And it’s not a desert. It’s lights. It’s a city. One minute out. And I’m thinking, ‘Man, this is some serious Navy SEAL stuff we’re about to do.'”
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