The following combat footage was shot in the war-torn Iraqi city of Mosul when Iraqi forces were fighting grueling urban combat to drive ISIS from the city. It shows an Iraqi journalist named Ammar Alwaely standing in the street as an ISIS sniper takes a shot at him. Luckily, Alwaely survived the attack and the round hit the GoPro Hero camera attached to his body armor and he walked away with just a few cuts from pieces of the GoPro Hero camera being blown into his face.

The hair raising incident of the GoPro Hero saving this journalist’s life was captured on camera by Owen Holdaway, a journalist for The Sun. Mosul in particular was an extremely dangerous area to be working as a journalist during the height of the push to drive ISIS from the ancient city. According to Task & Purpose, out of the 74 journalists killed during 2016, 26 of them where killed in Syria and Iraq whilst covering the fight against ISIS.

Before ISIS came, Mosul was extremely diverse and populated by people such as Armenians, Yazidis, Assyrian, Turkmen, and Shabak. Under ISIS, all of them have the gruesome treatment and ethnic cleansing. The Iraqi government plan to take the city back was predicted to be the “mother of all battles.” The nickname came true.

Two years later the Iraqi government alongside allied militia groups such as the Kurdish Peshmerga, launched an offensive dubbed “We Are Coming, Nineveh” in order to retake Mosul from ISIS. The operation was the biggest deployment of Iraqi troops since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The battle was the world’s single largest military operation in nearly 15 years since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Battle of Mosul was concurrent with the Battle of Sirte in Libya and the Raqqa campaign carried out by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against ISIL’s capital city and stronghold in Syria. As a result, ISIS was on the backfoot and their fighting became ever more desperate and fanatical, as can be seen in the video featured here when an IS fighter dodged death on the streets of Mosul.

Gopro in Mosul combat footage
Iraqi special forces soldiers fire weapons at Islamic State fighters in Mosul, Iraq November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

The fighting to oust the ISIS fanatics was brutal, prolonged, and fierce. Widespread and elaborate defenses, booby traps, and the presence of civilians made advancing difficult and slow. But Iraqi forces pushed on and the city was captured from ISIS in July 2017. It is estimated that removing the explosives left behind by ISIS in Mosul as well as repairing the city over the next 5 years will cost around $50 billion.

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Batya (Батя) is the founder of Reaper Feed. He is an international security advisor and a high-risk expedition leader across former and active conflict zones such as Eastern Ukraine, unrecognized post-Soviet states, the North Caucasus, and the Middle East. Batya founded Reaper Feed to provide unprecedented insight into the lesser-seen sides of human conflict and modern warfare. He is from the UK but his work means he is based in various countries around the world.