A number of kurdish peshmerga standing in a field near Tel Skof shortly after last Tuesday's fighting with members of the Islamic State. Photo: Rudaw
DUHOK, Kurdistan Region - An Islamic State (ISIS) militant caught in fighting near Mosul last week begged his Peshmerga captors to shoot him dead on the spot so he could reach paradise the same day, a frontline Kurdish soldier said.
“The militant’s own suicide vest had failed to explode but he had sustained injuries from his friends’ vest explosions,” Peshmerga Captain Salim Surchi of the Spilk base told Rudaw. “He kept saying, ‘kill me, you infidels kill me.’”
Cpt. Surchi said the militant was captured by the Peshmerga during last week’s fighting in the Christian town of Tel Skof, 28km north of Mosul.
The militant was eager to be killed on the spot because it was a holy Islamic day known as Isra an Mi’raj, the day that marks Prophet Muhammad’s ascension to heaven as mentioned in the Koran.
Cpt. Surchi, who fought hard to keep the town from falling to ISIS last Tuesday, said the group attacked with nearly 50 suicide bombers and they meant to take the town.
“We fought them back and it was a vicious fight,” he recalled.
One Peshmerga officer and two soldiers were killed that day, said Cpt. Surchi.
“The militants were fighting hard,” he said. “As much as we fired back they kept coming forward until in the end it was a hand-to-hand fight with hand grenades.”
“Finally the sound of their gunfire died down and we went to find their dead bodies,” he added.
Cpt. Surchi lost three of his close friends that day and had others wounded, he said, but he still rushed to help a wounded ISIS militant to save his life.
“I was filming the dead ISIS with my cell phone when I saw one of them moving his leg and I placed my hands on his chest trying to help him breathe,” the Peshmerga commander said of the moment following the fighting.
“He breathed heavily a few times, he was conscious and he could even speak,” he added.
Cpt. Surchi said that despite the militant’s pleas to be shot dead, he went ahead and treated his leg wound.
“When I was treating him I asked, ‘where’re you from?’ and he said, ‘I’m from Samarra and came here for jihad.’
The militant then said, ‘We were 50 suicide bombers altogether and we wanted to be in paradise by 4 o’clock in the afternoon,” Cpt. Surchi recounted.
US Navy SEAL Charles Keating of San Diego was killed the same day as he was trying to help five trapped Peshmerga.
Cpt. Surchi said that three ISIS militants were captured and more than 80 killed before the town was secured again by the Kurdish forces.
“The other two militants had run out of bullets and their vests failed to explode,” he said. “The wounded one kept asking us to kill him till the end of the day.”