Former Navy SEAL Ephraim Mattos shared his story of the “Battle for Mosul” with Fox News Monday, saying that dozens of innocent women and children were brutally killed by ISIS.
Mattos describes his experience in Mosul in an interview with Fox, where he recalls seeing dozens of deceased young children, pregnant mothers and entire families murdered by the radical Islamic terrorist group. While stationed in Iraq, Mattos himself was almost killed by gunfire.
Just days after officially retiring from the military in early April, Mattos joined a global humanitarian group called the Free Burma Rangers and agreed to leave for Iraq to assist as a medic and aid volunteer. While assisting Iraq’s 9th Armored Division with the Free Burma Rangers May 4, they received orders to assault Mosul. This attack is when Mattos says “the insane bloodshed” started.
“ISIS was just gunning down civilians in the middle of the night as they ran — women and children,” Mattos said. “We were trying to treat as many people as we could, but bodies were all over the streets. An entire family lay dead right there, an old man, young parents and their baby between them.”
“We saw two young girls, about 11 or 12, lying down,” he added. “One had been shot dead in the back, the other in the head — her face was totally gone. Where her face used to be was just a big black hole.”
The experienced veteran continued speaking about his time volunteering in Mosul, describing in detail the disturbing aftermath of the damage and pain ISIS had created.
“We started to see children alive, buried underneath the dead. They were in shock. These little kids would get up and poke the bodies of their parents, confused, trying to wake them up from their sleep,” Mattos said. “One little boy, no older than 6 or 7, laid down next to what appeared to be his sister. He covered her in a scarf to shield her from the hot sun. It was absolutely heartbreaking. We all knew then we had to do something to get those kids out.”
Iraqi army associates quickly called for U.S. aircraft to drop some sort of smokescreen to provide cover, due to the fact they were around 200 yards from an ISIS hospital being used as a headquarters for terrorists.
“I was terrified. I had to will myself to go forward,” Mattos said. “But I had decided that I was prepared to die to get that little girl out of there … What ISIS was doing was just unreal. How do you shoot a little girl in the back of the head?”
According to Mattos, there were around 100 fighters and over a dozen snipers in that general area at the time, concealed on rooftops and in the dark hollow rooms of mortar-gashed houses. Mattos was shot in the calf while trying to get cover behind a vehicle, was taken to the Kurdish capital of Erbil for medical attention and spent over two weeks in the hospital.
“As a SEAL, we are taught that our job is to take care of ourselves until the battle is over,” Mattos said. He arrived home to Wisconsin at the end of June to continue healing.
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