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SAS - Rescue Of Norman Kember

On the 23rd of March, 2006, the SAS, along with other forces, rescued 3 western men from captivity in Iraq.

The 3 men, the British Norman Kember and Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Sooden, were the surviving members of a group of 4 peace activists who had been kidnapped in November, 2005 by an Iraqi organization known as the Swords of Righteousness Brigade. Subsequent video demands called for the release of various Iraqi prisoners in allied hands. Eventually, on March 8th, 2006, the kidnappers killed Tom Fox, an U.S. Citizen.

It has been reported that, following the kidnap and killing of British workers Ken Bigley and Margaret Hassan in 2005, a multi-national task force, of which the 22nd Special Air Service was part of (as Task Force Black), aside from hunting high value Saddam loyalists and Al-Qaeda leadership targets, had also established an intelligence network in order to counter the threat from kidnappers. Information from spies, informers and electronics eavesdropping operations were all used to build an intelligence picture on the various kidnapping organizations active in Iraq.

When specific intelligence was received on the whereabouts of the remaining peace workers, a plan was put into motion. At 8am, on March 23rd, 2006, 3 hours after the intel first came in, a rescue force was on its way. Their target was a house in a suburb of Baghdad. The rescue forces approached the area in taxis and civilian pick up trucks. Inside the vehicles were the elite special operations soldiers of several countries:

  • British SAS
  • Canadian JTF2 commandos
  • U.S. Delta Force and/or SEAL Team 6 operators
  • British SFSG

With helicopter gunships circling above their heads, the SFSG troops de bussed and set up a security perimeter. whilst the rescue elements, led by the SAS, drove in and stormed the target building. Inside, they discovered the 3 peace workers bound but unguarded. There was no sign of their kidnappers. No shots had been fired during the operation.

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