U.S. Air Force F-16s obliterated three truck-mounted anti-aircraft weapons and killed 10 to 14 al-Qaeda operatives near Fallujah on Tuesday, according to the military.
The military believes they were al-Qaeda terrorists engaged in an operation targeting coalition aircraft. "We've had about 11 helicopters that have been shot at and hit over the last four months in that location," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq, told ABC News.
Dramatic Video Documents Strike The Department of Defense gave ABC News first access to imagery of the night operation that was carried out a little more than 48 hours ago.
The three-minute video begins with imagery from an unmanned aerial vehicle. The operator of the drone first spotted a truck with anti-aircraft weaponry mounted on it driving in the area. The drone followed the truck as it drove to a nearby training compound.
"When we spotted this truck, we continued to follow it until it went to that compound where it's obviously doing some kind of training," Caldwell explained. The video shows what appears to be al Qaeda members firing anti-aircraft weapons from the trucks as they train to take over an abandoned building.
The small black images are artillery rounds being fired from the trucks and some can be seen richocheting off the structures. Because the operation began in the late evening, the drone used thermal heat imagery which made it easy to spot the activity.
Caldwell describes the significance of this operation as a "seven to eight at least" on a scale of one to ten.
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