Video evidence has surfaced that may paint a different picture of the ISIS fighter allegedly killed by a Navy SEAL last year.
Navy SEAL Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, 39, allegedly executed a wounded ISIS fighter with his knife on May 3, 2017, by stabbing the detainee in his neck and body. He faces charges of premeditated murder, along with other military law violations over the incident.
However, a YouTube video, in addition to exclusive documents obtained by Task & Purpose, show that the ISIS fighter was critically wounded prior to being detained and treated by the Navy SEAL team.
The video, uploaded May 15, 2017, shows Iraqi journalist Ali Jawad interviewing the wounded ISIS fighter as he laid on the ground with a severe wound to his leg.
A transcript of the video was provided to T&P by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
Jawad asked the fighter why he joined ISIS, to which the fighter replied, “My dad was beating me, and telling me we do not go with ISIS.”
“So why did you join them if your dad did not accept?” Jawad asked.
“So they can tell me ‘good job,’” the fighter said.
“That’s it, so they can say to you ‘good job?’” Jawad asked. “Dear our channel watchers, here is a young man, about 17 years old. ISIS fooled him to join them.”
The ISIS fighter, said to be actually 15 years old, was armed with a PKC-47 machine gun when Iraqi forces captured him.
“Our soldiers shot at him, injured him, and now he is ready for transfer to get medical attention so we can make use of his information,” Brig. Gen. Mahdi Alhayali of the Iraqi Emergency Response Division (ERD) said in the video.
— Task & Purpose (@TaskandPurpose) November 19, 2018
When an NCIS investigator interviewed Maj. Gen. Abbas al-Jubouri of the Iraqi ERD, he described Gallagher as “very professional, a hard worker, and was more proficient at his job than any American he has ever worked with.”
Abbas and his subordinate said the ISIS fighter suffered a “prolific wound” to his leg and said, “the artery was shot.” They said the wound was caused by “numerous gunshot wounds” from a week-long battle with ISIS members, not an air strike.
Abbas said “his men brought the wounded ISIS member back to the compound on the hood of the vehicle, of which the Americans’ were mad, because ‘they thought we [Iraqis] were mistreating the wounded fighter by bringing him there in that manner, and dragging him onto the ground.’”
At the compound, SEAL medics provided extensive treatment to the fighter, including three bags of blood, but the attempts were thought to be futile.
“Abbas stated the ISIS fighter was going to die, even with the life-saving measures, due to his artery being pierced by a gunshot wound,” the NCIS investigator said.
“He was almost dying,” Abbas said of the ISIS fighter. “He had lost too much blood.”
Abbas insisted that the ISIS fighter succumbed to his gunshot wounds in the presence of the Iraqi ERD.
“If I wanted to kill someone, I wouldn’t do it in front of witnesses; there were 20 plus people out there, including several Iraqi officers. He would never do that. The ISIS member died, and then we [ERD] left the area, leaving the dead body behind, due to having to be somewhere else,” Abbas said.
Gallagher, a 19-year Navy veteran, appeared before Navy Judge Advocate Capt. Arthur Record during an Article 32 hearing last week that presented evidence used to determine whether a full court-martial trial should proceed.
There, the prosecutors argued that Gallagher appeared while the ISIS fighter received treatment from fellow SEALs, and began stabbing the fighter out of nowhere. After the fighter’s death, Gallagher allegedly took photos while posing with the dead body, and even allegedly completed a re-enlistment ceremony while cradling the fighter’s head.
One of the photos allegedly showed Gallagher holding a knife in one hand, and holding up the fighter’s head in another. The photo was sent to a fellow SEAL member, accompanied by the text message, “I got him with my hunting knife.”
Gallager was arrested on Sept. 11 at the Camp Pendleton Intrepid Spirit Center where he was receiving treatment for head injuries incurred from his overseas combat duty.
Authorities then detained him in the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego, where he has remained thus far.