More than 3,500 insurgents have been “taken off the streets of Baghdad” by the elite British force in a series of audacious “Black Ops” over the past two years.
It is understood that while the majority of the terrorists were captured, several hundred, who were mainly members of the organization known as “al-Qa’eda in Iraq” have been killed by the SAS.
The SAS is part of a highly secretive unit called “Task Force Black” which also includes Delta Force, the US equivalent of the SAS.
The prime targets have been those intent on joining the wave of suicide car bombers that claimed around 3,000 lives a month in Baghdad at the height of the terrorist campaign in 2006.
Using intelligence gleaned from spies and informers, Task Force Black has nearly broken the back of the terrorist network and reduced bombings in Baghdad from about 150 a month to just two.
But the success of the covert mission came at a price – six members of the SAS were killed and more than 30 were injured. Delta Force has suffered in the region of 20 per cent casualties.
A senior British officer told The Sunday Telegraph: “We took over 3,500 terrorists off the streets of Baghdad in around 18 months.
“You could say it was a very successful period. But the butcher’s bill was high. The attrition rate is equivalent to that experienced by the SAS during the Malayan insurgency 50 years ago.
“The relationship between the SAS and Delta Force is very close,” he added. “If anything, the attrition rate in Delta Force is higher. Two years ago the SAS made a donation to Delta Force’s ‘widows and orphans’ fund of £10,000.”