By Mark Ellis, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
MOSUL, IRAQ (ANS – September 22, 2017) — In the ferocious battle to re-take the second-largest city in Iraq from the clutches of ISIS (Islamic State), snipers were indiscriminately mowing down civilians trying to escape their suffocating embrace.
The battle to free Mosul featured Iraqi, Kurdish, American and French forces. It also included some unlikely volunteers like the Free Burma Rangers (FBR), headed by American missionary David Eubank.
Eubank, a former U.S. Army Special Forces and Ranger officer, began helping oppressed ethnic minorities in Burma. But in 2015, FBR’s focus shifted to northern Iraq.
On June 2, 2017, Eubank spotted a group of civilians in Mosul pinned down behind a concrete wall. They had attempted to escape from ISIS, but didn’t get very far.
Eubank led the daring rescue effort to free them, which was captured on video by film-maker Bernard Genier working with Jonathan Miller, Asia correspondent for the U.K.’s Channel 4 news. (The photos attached to this story are screengrabs from the video)
On Eubank’s team, he happened to have two brothers from Milwaukee, Zeb and Ephraim. Ephraim is a former U.S. Navy Seal who had experienced firefights in Afghanistan and Iraq, but nothing quite like this day.
“At the end of the road was a hospital controlled by ISIS,” Zeb notes, “and they were (in there) shooting at anything and everything that moved.”
“Civilians trapped on the ISIS side were trying to escape over to the Iraqi army side where it was safe. Men, women, and children and the elderly in wheel chairs were all trying to escape. ISIS would shoot them in the back. There were corpses of dead men and women, little children shot in the back of the head, as they tried to flee ISIS.”
When the FBR team slowly approached the civilians, they discovered a small head moving next to a larger figure on the ground. “A little girl had been trapped in the street for several days,” Zeb recounts. “Her mother had been shot in the back.”
The little girl was in hiding, protecting herself underneath her mother’s hijab. Sadly, the mother had been pregnant when she passed away – only one week away from delivery. “She had died two or three days previously,” Zeb says.
Photo captions: 1) Providing cover as David Eubank runs in to rescue girl. 2) David Eubank braved sniper fire to rescue a girl in west Mosul, Iraq. (Free Burma Rangers) 3) A toddler stumbles among victims shot by Islamic State snipers as they fled west Mosul. (Free Burma Rangers) 4) David Eubank, right, helps evacuate wounded Iraqi civilians from west Mosul. (Free Burma Rangers). 5) Mark Ellis.
About the writer: Mark Ellis is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), and is also the founder of www.GodReports.com, a website that shares testimonies and videos from the church around the world to build interest and involvement in world missions. Previously, Mark co-hosted a TV show called “Windows on the World” with ANS Founder, Dan Wooding, aired on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv), which is now co-hosted by Dr. Garry Ansdell, Senior Pastor of Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, California.
** You may republish this, or any of our ANS stories, with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please also tell your friends and colleagues that they can have a complimentary subscription to our news service by signing up there.