A surgical strike is a precision military attack carried out by going into another country with the intention to damage a specific target. Surgical strikes are meant to avoid collateral damage to surrounding civilisations or the general public.
10. THE RESCUE OF JESSICA LYNCH
On March 23, 2003, US soldier Jessica Lynch ‘s company ran into trouble in enemy territory by Iraqi forces, resulting in her capture. For the next week, she was held captive by Iraqi soldiers at Saddam Hospital in Nasiriya.
Nine days later, US Special Forces attacked the hospital where she was kept and rescued her. They also recovered the bodies of eight US soldiers. Her subsequent recovery by U.S. Special Operations Forces received considerable media coverage and was the first successful rescue of an American prisoner of war since Vietnam and the first ever of a woman. In 2014, Lynch made her film debut as Specialist Summer L. Gabriel in Virtuous. Her role was loosely based on her own experiences in the Iraq War.
9. THE CAPTURE OF KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED
In March 2003, the CIA led a surgical strike in Pakistan to capture three terror suspect, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was believed to be one of the key planner of the 9/11. The strike took place in Rawalpindi and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was taken to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for “enhanced interrogation techniques”.
8. ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI’S ASSASSINATION
In June 2006, the US Air Force sent warplanes to carry out a surgical strike on the safehouse of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. Zarqawi was killed in a targeted killing by a joint U.S. force, while attending a meeting in an isolated safehouse in Hibhib, One United States Air Force F-16C jet dropped two 500-pound guided bombs on the safehouse.
7. OPERATION EAGLE CLAW
In November 1979, some Iranian students took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, at the US Embassy in Iran’s capital, Tehran. Then US President Jimmy Carter initiated a secret rescue mission. However, the mission, Operation Eagle Claw, ended in complete disaster for the Americans with the US special forces getting stuck in sand storms, facing a fire during evacuation, and losing a helicopter in a crash. Eventually, eight US soldiers died and none of the hostages could be rescued. The botched surgical strike may have cost Carter his presidency.
6. OPERATION NIFTY PACKAGE
In 1989, the US initiated a mission to capture Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega which culminated in a filmy ending.
Delta Force-operated plan conducted in 1989 designed to capture Noriega. When Noriega took refuge in the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See, deafening music and other psychological warfare tactics were used to convince him to exit.
They cornered Noriega at a Roman Catholic facility, but after heavy crossfire and being attacked with loud music by Guns N’ Roses and The Clash, Noriega surrendered.
5. BLACK HAWK DOWN
In 1993, the US Special Forces’ mission to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid who had support from armed civilian fighters went horribly wrong after two US Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by RPGs. This left 18 US soldiers dead, more than 70 wounded, and allowed Aidid to flee. While the operation was unsuccessful, it went on to become a popular book and movie, Black Hawk Down.
4. BESLAN MASSACRE
The Beslan massacre started on 1 September 2004, lasted three days, involved the capture of over 1,100 people as hostages (including 777 children), and ended with the death of at least 385 people. The crisis began when a group of armed Islamic Groups, mostly Ingush and Chechen, occupied School Number One in the town of Beslan. On the third day of the standoff, Russian security forces stormed the building with the use of tanks, incendiary rockets and other heavy weapons. At least 330 hostages were killed, including 186 children, with a significant number of people injured and reported missing.
3. INDIAN ARMY OPERATION IN MYANMAR
On 10th June 2015, a team of some 70 Indian Army commandos carried out surgical strike inside the jungles of Myanmar. The 40-minute operation took out 50 to 100 dreaded Naga militants. Army’s strike was so swift and precise that it gave the militants no time to retaliate. No member of the Army’s elite force was injured during the whole operation. The strike was planned hours after the Naga militants killed 18 soldiers in an ambush in Chandel area of Manipur on June 4, 2015.
2. OSAMA BIN LADEN’S ASSASSINATION
In May 2011, the US special forces attacked a safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden was hiding, taking him out in a contained attack. In the CIA-led operation, code-named as Operation Neptune Spear (also Operation Geronimo), was carried out by the US Navy SEALs. The raid on bin Laden’s compound was launched from Afghanistan. U.S. military officials said that after the raid, U.S. forces took bin Laden’s body to Afghanistan for identification, then buried him at sea within 24 hours of his death in accordance with Islamic tradition.
1. OPERATION ENTEBBE
The Israel Defense Forces’ famous hostage-rescue mission in Uganda’s Entebbe airport is remembered as one of the most clinical surgical strikes in history. In June 1976, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked an Air France plane and forced it to land at Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport. After the then Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, made no attempts to rescue the hostages, the IDF stepped in.
The operation took place at night. Israeli transport planes carried 100 commandos over 2,500 miles to Uganda for the rescue operation. 102 hostages were rescued. Five Israeli commandos were wounded and one, the unit commander, was killed.
All the 7 hijackers, 3 hostages and 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed, and 30 Soviet-built MiG-17s and MiG-21s of Uganda’s air force were destroyed. Operation Entebbe, which had the military codename Operation Thunderbolt, is sometimes referred to retroactively as Operation Jonathan in memory of the unit’s leader, Yonatan Netanyahu.
Bonus : SURGICAL STRIKE IN P.O.K
India said that it had conducted surgical strikes on terror launchpads across the Line of Control (LoC). The strikes come 11 days after the Uri attacks in which 18 Indian soldiers were killed.
On 28th Sep 2016, India carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, inflicting heavy casualties on terrorists and ‘those protecting them” and indicating a change of stand on the rules of engagement on the disputed line of control. Operation begins around 12.30 am. According to reports, paratroopers from Special Forces were involved. In 4 Hours 38 terrorists and 2 Pakistani soldiers were killed in Indian Army surgical strikes, no Indian casualties. Those killed included terrorists, their guides and handlers.