Within the Kurdish people’s rugged army is an elite unit that specializes in rooting out ISIS sleeper cells and responds first when the black-clad jihadist army strikes in northern Iraq’s no-man’s land. They are called the “Black Devils” by the terrorists they hunt, and they embrace the name.

Made up of 400 of the Kurdish forces known as Peshmerga, the Black Devils boast a high enemy body count, a Spartan regimen and the ability to induce panic in the dark hearts of their foes. Their fierce tactics and effective intelligence gathering make them as feared as they are despised.

“It is a special kind of hate they have for us,” Major Raad, a former interpreter for the U.S. Army during the Iraq war, told FoxNews.com from the group’s headquarters in Teleskof, just 8 miles outside of the ISIS stronghold of Mosul. “They never have mercy on us. They just kill us.”

Hunkered down in their headquarters in the town seized May 3 by Kurdish and U.S. forces in a battle that claimed the life of U.S. Navy SEAL Charles Keating, the unit surveys the desert villages on the outskirts of Mosul, collecting information, preparing for a looming battle for Iraq’s second-largest city and remaining ready to move at a moment’s notice.