SAS sniper
The horizon is seen through a telescopic rifle belonging to a Kurdish Peshmerga sniper on the front line in the Gwer district, 40 kilometres south of Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq JM LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images

A veteran SAS sniper killed five Islamic State (ISIS) fighters with just three shots to foil a suicide bomb attack in Iraq. The sniper, who has served with the SAS for a decade, decided to shoot after he spotted the five Daesh (IS) fighters leaving a bomb making factory whilst wearing heavy and warm clothing in the desert sun.

He fired three well-aimed shots from 800 metres away, killing five of the over-dressed jihadis near the IS-controlled Iraqi city of Mosul. In August this year, another British sniper saved the life of a Shiite man and his eight-year-old son, who were seconds from being executed by the extremists after soldiers spotted the pair surrounded by headless bodies.

Of the three rounds fired, the first shot hit a man in the chest, detonating his suicide vest, killing him and two other jihadis nearby. This was followed by a man shot in the head as he tried to get back into the bomb factory.

The final shot detonated an explosive vest worn by another IS fighter - killing him instantly. The operation was said to have saved "hundreds of lives".

"This was a classic SAS mission," said a British Army source to the Express. "About three weeks ago the intelligence guys got information that a bomb factory had been set up in a nearby village. With just three well-aimed shots, that single team has probably saved the lives of hundreds of innocent people. The unit was sent in to see if they could identify the house and the bombers," the source explained.

"There were too many civilian homes nearby and children were often around so an airstrike was out of the question. Instead, the SAS commander in Iraq decided to use a sniper team and the operation was a complete success."

Mosul is located in the north of the country and fell to Daesh after much of the Iraqi army dropped their weapons and fled. Having seized Mosul, IS took control of Tikrit and parts of Baiji.