Canadian sniper who killed Isis fighter with world-record shot prevented an attack on Iraqi troops, says general

'This attack was massing unbeknownst to our partner forces'

Ian Johnston
Thursday 29 June 2017 10:03 BST
Iraqi special forces soldiers in combat in Mosul, Iraq
Iraqi special forces soldiers in combat in Mosul, Iraq (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

A Canadian sniper who killed an Isis fighter 3,460 metres (2.1 miles) away – smashing the world record – may have saved the lives of Iraqi soldiers who were about to come under attack, a senior officer has said.

Brigadier General Peter Dawe told The Canadian Press news agency that a group of Isis militants had been gathering for a major surprise attack on the Iraqi force.

But, when the shot was made, the Isis group took cover and did not launch the attack, he added.

The previous record for the longest confirmed shot – fractionally under 1,000 metres – was held by Craig Harrison, a member of the British armed forces.

Some have reacted with disbelief at the idea it is possible to make such a long shot, but it was reportedly captured on video and the distance was based on “hard data” not an “approximation”, a military source said.

General Dawe defended the decision to take the shot even though Canada’s mission in Iraq is meant to be a non-combat one.

“This attack was massing unbeknownst to our partner forces because it was happening very quickly in a very dynamic sort of environment,” he said.

“And so our team was able to engage, and not only successfully that particular enemy fighter, but pre-empt a mass attack. So that's a significant achievement.”

He said the sniper was abiding by the rules laid down for the military by the Canadian Government.

“Canadian troops are not leading offensive operations,” General Dawe said.

“But when you're advising and assisting, it’s exactly what those two terms would suggest.

“To assist effectively means to also look after the partner forces with whom you’re working.”

He declined to give further details about the shot to avoid supplying information that might endanger Canadian troops.

But he added: “We've been very transparent to Canadians in terms of what our troops are doing.

“As transparent as we can be without compromising the welfare and the safety of our men and women deployed overseas.”

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