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American Hero Saves Child in Mosul Before Final Attack on ISIS’ Iraqi Capital

As the final battle to remove the Islamic State from its last stronghold in the Old City of Mosul is finally underway as of Sunday morning, an American aid worker and former U.S. Special Forces soldier is being recognized as a hero for saving the life of a young Iraqi girl.

Video footage shows how aid worker David Eubank, 56, wearing a flat jacket and a helmet, spotted a girl and a toddler who were walking though the bodies of Mosul residents who had been killed by ISIS snipers.

Eubank did not hesitate for a moment, and braving heavy Islamic State gunfire, started running in the direction of the children while armed members of his group, the Free Burma Rangers (FBR), provided cover for their heroic friend by shooting at ISIS positions opposite the street.

Eubank, who founded the Christian humanitarian aid group FBR in 1997, grabbed the girl and ran back to his friends. He then returned to find the toddler but was unsuccessful.

“I thought, ‘If I die doing this, my wife and kids would understand,’” Eubank told the Los Angeles Times.

The American hero came to Mosul with his wife and their three children, ages 11 to 16, after they heard about the unspeakable atrocities ISIS was committing in Iraq.

“I believe God sent me here, and I don’t think about security but I always ask myself if I’m doing it out of pride,” Eubank said.

His family waited for his safe return at a location behind the front lines and returned with him to the U.S. soon after.

Eubank’s heroic act took place before the combined Iraqi security forces stormed Mosul’s Old City on Sunday morning.

ISIS now controls just one square mile of the area, while all other neighborhoods in Mosul have been liberated during the seven-month offensive to take back the Islamic State’s Iraqi capital.

The U.N. says that 100,000 civilians are trapped in the narrow alleyways of the Old City, and are being used as human shields by the remaining few hundreds Islamic State fighters in the ancient neighborhood.

Staff Lieutenant General Abdul-Ameer Rasheed Yarallah, a commander of Iraq’s elite Counter Terrorism Service, confirmed the start of the attack on the Old City. Meanwhile, U.S.-coalition warplanes have launched airstrikes on ISIS positions in the densely populated neighborhood.

“The initial air strikes started at around midnight. The security forces started storming parts of the Old City at dawn,” another Iraqi military official said.

Iraqi State TV reported that leaflets urging civilians to leave through five “safe corridors” had been distributed to the residents of the Old City prior to the assault.

But Bruno Geddo, the U.N. refugee agency’s representative in Iraq, said that ISIS is taking hostages and is not providing food, water or electricity anymore to the trapped civilians.

As a result, the civilians are ‘living in an increasingly worsening situation of penury and panic,” Geddo told reporters. “They are surrounded by fighting on every side,” he added.

The battle for Mosul has displaced an estimated 862,000 people, while just 195,000 of them returned to the western part of the city after its liberation.