Nick swung the HiLux around the corner and gunned it, accelerating rapidly toward the target building. As he did, I heard the snap of shots overhead even over the roar of the engine, and three dim figures in the street dropped. A fourth tried to run, but a flurry of gunfire cut him down, sending him sprawling on his face in the middle of the street, his limbs gone loose in death. Then we were in front of the gate and jumping out of the vehicle.

We had to rely on Mike’s team to keep anyone outside off the trucks. We simply didn’t have the manpower to keep security on the vehicles while the rest went inside. We needed every gun on the assault, so seven of us piled out and stacked on the gate, while Cyrus drove the second HiLux almost directly in front of it. Little Bob grabbed the chain in the back, which was already hooked to the truck’s frame, looped it through the lattice at the top of the gate, and hooked it onto itself. Cyrus gunned the engine, ripping the gate off its hinges with an ear-splitting clatter, and then he was out and running to join the stack as we flooded into the courtyard.

There was no stealth involved in this raid. We’d opened with gunfire and the screech and clatter of sheet metal getting ripped apart and dropped in the street. The ISIS fighters were already up and moving as we stormed through the gateway.

Two were already on the porch; they might have been on guard or they might have just been hanging out there like the ones in the street. They were both armed, so, even though neither of them had apparently made up their minds whether or not to bring their rifles up or just drop ‘em, they were cut down by at least three pairs of shots apiece. They crumpled where they stood, one of them rolling off the porch into the dirt.