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ISIS Fighter Killed While Pulling Out Iraqi Flag (Video)

| by Sarah Zimmerman

Aerial video (below) taken near Mosul, Iraq, shows the moments before the death of an ISIS fighter, who died in an airstrike while trying to remove an Iraqi flag from the ground.

The video shows the man walking towards the Iraqi flag somewhere just outside Mosul, ISIS's last major stronghold in Iraq. Just as he tries to lift it, a missile hits nearby parked truck, causing it to burst into flames according to the Daily Mail.

Al Arabiya reports that the man was actually near an area controlled by the Iraqi army. By trying to remove the flag, he made his presence known and immediately became a target.

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Although not shown in the video, the ISIS militant was targeted in a second strike. It's not clear who captured the video or who was responsible for the attack.

A local source told Al Arabiya that other ISIS fighters in the area refused to inspect the body, as they were afraid to become the next target. 

On Feb. 17, the head of U.S. Special Operations said the United States and its allies had killed more than 60,000 ISIS fighters in total.

"We have killed over 60,000," said Gen. Raymond "Tony" Thomas, head of U.S. Special Operations command. 

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He noted that there has been a considerable uptick in confirmed kills since the start of the U.S.-Iraqi operation to overtake Mosul. The U.S.-led coalition has also increased the number of airstrikes targeted toward Raqqa, Syria, ISIS's self-named capital.

Many American officials have told CNN in the past they do not officially tally body counts or release information regarding confirmed kills. 

"My policy has always been, don't release that kind of thing," said former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Hagel says that during the Vietnam War, media outlets would blast military officials for releasing body counts, saying that the counts were a tool for misleading the public and instilling false optimism. 

"Body counts. I mean, come on, did we learn anything from Vietnam?" asked Hagel, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War. "Body counts make no sense."

Department of Defense spokesman Christopher Sherwood said the body count numbers are just estimates and not meant to be taken as precise.

"References to enemy killed are estimates, not precise figures," he said. "While the number of enemy killed is one measure of military success, the coalition does not use this as a measure of effectiveness in the campaign to defeat ISIS."

Sources: Daily Mail, Al Arabiya, CNN / Photo credit: Bryan Jones/Flickr

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