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Canada has a reputation among Western military forces for the skill of its snipers, despite the small size of the Canadian Armed Forces compared with the United States and Britain.
The commander of Canada’s elite special forces says a record-breaking kill shot by one of his snipers in Iraq is “an incredible martial achievement”. Major-General Michael Rouleau spoke to The Globe and Mail recently after a sniper with Joint Task Force 2, the army’s top special forces unit, broke the world military record with a confirmed kill at a distance of 3,540 metres. The world record was previously held by a British sniper, who shot a Taliban gunner with an from 2,475 metres away in 2009.
Maj.-Gen. Rouleau would not provide further details on the Canadian sniper or where the sniper team was operating within Iraq, citing operational security. The sniper team had spotted Islamic State fighters approaching Iraqi security forces, who were unaware that they were about to be ambushed. The sniper did not expect to hit the target at such a distance, but hoped his “harassing fire” would frighten the enemy combatants to flee.
According to defenseworld.net, he used the TAC-50, an American-made tactical rifle. It took about 10 minutes to spot target and hit a stationary fighter.
“But, as it turns out, owing to the skills of the observer-sniper team in question, they actually were able to kill one of the Islamic State fighters and disrupted the attack, allowing the Iraqi Security forces to continue its activity,” Maj.-Gen. Rouleau said.
“While that sniper is rightfully proud of what he accomplished, it could have been any number of people behind that weapon system given the quality that exists in the group,” Maj.-Gen. Rouleau said.
The unit’s forces are primarily tasked with counter-terrorism, sniper operations and hostage rescue. Much of the information about this elite organization is classified and not commented on by the government. The unit’s snipers and members of Canadian Special Operations Regiment, who are carrying out the main task of training Kurdish forces, have been operating in tough conditions in Iraq.