The first bullet missed. Private Qassim Hussein Ali saw it fly past his face as he sat in the back of a pick-up truck hurtling towards the front line.
The second hit his right hand as he reached for his Kalashnikov.
The third round hit his throat and tore down his neck, lodging between his fourth and fifth ribs and scorching his windpipe on the way.
It was just after midday on Sunday as Kurdish peshmerga, with whom Private Ali is engaged, Iraqi forces and Shia militias broke a two-month siege on Amerli, a mostly Turkmen town in northern Iraq.
“The gunman was hiding in the trees,” Private Ali said through laboured breaths as he recovered on a morphine drip at Sulaymaniyah’s emergency hospital yesterday. (Read more…)