Category Archives: Intelligence & Politics

“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 63

It was mid-morning lunch before Storm and Kelly finished marking up the probable JWM Serializationtargets and the best sniper positions for five. Targets were limited to bridges and other rush hour traffic backup points. Jack grabbed the marked up topographical maps and called the Leesburg Airport to tell the pilots to get the helicopter ready for a flight over the western beltway. Westbound traffic was light, and Jack, Lou, Kathy and Shadow were airborne in the Bell 429 an hour and twenty minutes later. The side panels carried the logo of Global Surveys.

With marked up coordinates and the onboard GPS system, it was not difficult to check the proposed sites, photograph the positions and send the results to Frank before they landed. Once they were back at the airport, Jack called Frank and said, “If you agree, our team will react to any attack on the American Legion Memorial Bridge on Route 495. If there is an attack there, I believe it will come from the Maryland side. The ground is higher and escape routes are numerous.”

“Good, I’ll take care of covering the rest. The release of the pictures of the Professor and Hasani may delay the next attack. We still have to cover as many targets as we can today and tomorrow. You’ve been a great help in designing a reaction plan.”

At four o’clock Jack told Kathy and Lou to check their weapons. He wanted to be on station over the target area at 4:15. Jack had a strong feeling that the Professor would give the go ahead for at least a limited attack to keep building terror.

When they arrived over Route 495 near the American Legion Memorial Bridge, the weather was ideal for aerial surveillance. Three to five miles of wind from the west, visibility was good, with little or no haze over the bridge. Jack thought, this is ideal for the sniper. There were several places where a sniper could set up with dozens of traffic targets. The inner traffic loop of Route 495 was already slowing across the bridge. The cliché of shooting fish in a barrel must have been describing a situation like this. Jack knew the chance of spotting an experienced sniper from a cruising helicopter was almost nil. But after the sniper started shooting targets, then they had a chance to spot the movement during the escape. Hit targets may give some insights into the sniper’s firing position. Jack didn’t believe there would be more than one shooter unless the sniper and his spotter had to defend themselves.

Then the spotter would take on the closer targets. He also doubted that the sniper would try for targets beyond 500 yards.

It was now 5:00 and the light was beginning to fade slightly. Jack alerted Kathy and Lou that the shooter couldn’t wait much longer. He used the intercom to speak to the pilot to ask him to swing over the bridge to the Maryland side and hover over the high ground he pointed out. They were just crossing the bridge when a car on the bridge slammed into the cement bridge barrier. Then, a second and a third jumped lanes and crashed into cars moving from Virginia into Maryland. A massive traffic accident was occurring under them. The police radios they were monitoring reported shots fired and an officer down. Jack was looking for any sign of the shooting position when Lou said, “A white pickup truck just pulled off to the side of the beltway below us. I bet it’s a getaway ride.”

Jack told the pilot not to lose the truck. He used the chopper’s secure radio to call Frank who came on line instantly. Jack told him what was happening and to get out a bulletin on the truck, a white Chevrolet Silverado on the inner loop of the Beltway just over the Bridge on the Maryland side. He also told Frank they would be in pursuit and he would call in as soon as he had anything.

Kathy said, “Two people just got in the truck and it’s pulling out.”

Jack said, “Sam, did you get that?”

“Yeah, I did. What do you want me to do?”

“Follow that truck wherever it goes. Go up a thousand feet, so we can see more. I may want you to go down quickly, if I decide we’re going to be shooting. Be ready to land on short notice. There are at least two highly skilled shooters in that truck who will shoot at us without even thinking about it. One of the shooters will have a heavy caliber weapon that can knock holes in us from several thousand feet. So don’t give them anything. As it gets darker go down low enough so we don’t lose the truck. The shooting was timed so the darkness will help them escape.”

Lou said, “I think they are headed for 270 West to Frederick and merging with the torrent of traffic coming out of Washington. State Police road blocks will be hard to manage. When they think a police search is coming, they’ll split. Probably leaving the driver to create a diversion to help their escape.”

Jack said, “Lou, I think you’ve got it. There already is one diversion. First responders will still be going to the bridge as fast as they can. Not everyone will believe we’re following the bridge shooters. We have no real evidence for the law and order world. We saw no one shooting and we saw no guns. Only a pickup truck pulling over, and two people getting in. We can’t be sure they were the men. So most, if not all, of the police will be focused on the bridge area and not on our truck. There may not be many road blocks and that may help us get these snipers.”

Kathy said, “You know, I don’t think they know we’re following them.”

Jack said, “They may be just playing it cool. Here we are west of Frederick into the rolling hills and mountains that extend into Pennsylvania. Where are they going?”

Sam, the pilot, said, “They’re slowing down. I think they’re looking for something. Look! They’re pulling off. My map shows an extensive state park below us. If they get loose in those mountains on foot, we’ll never find them from the air. It’s too dark now, and I can only spend another hour searching for heat signatures before heading back to refuel.”

“Take us down to 200 feet. We’re going to stop that truck. Lou, Kathy, get ready for some shooting. We only have bolt action counter-sniper rifles, so we need aimed fire. Concentrate on the cab. Sam, if the truck stops, take evasive action. They’ll come out shooting. If they start shooting find a nearby place and put down. Shadow and I will get out. Kathy call in and report. I have enough in my pack for three days. I’ll carry the radio and my cell.”

Jack secured Shadow’s leash to a seat belt, so he wouldn’t be thrown out the open doors by any violent maneuvers. The truck was maintaining a 50 mph speed on a gravel road, throwing up a tail of dust. The first few rifle shots hit the cab, and the truck lurched off the road into scrub pine trees. Two of the occupants ran out, sought cover on the edge of the forest and opened fire. The low-flying helicopter was an easy target for experienced shooters. Several rounds pierced the thin skin of the chopper before Sam could take evasive action and get out of the line of fire.

Kathy yelled, “Lou’s been hit! Looks bad!”

“Sam, is the bird okay?”

“Yeah! Nothing I can see wrong.”

“Good, get down now to jumping distance.”

Jack was shrugging into his pack and getting Shadow’s leash loose.

“When Shadow and I get out, get Lou back to Frederick. Kathy, you know what to do. Call the nearest competent emergency for gunshot wounds and do what you can with the onboard first aid kit. It doesn’t look like a pumping chest wound. I have to go now. I’ll be in touch. Don’t worry! Come on, Shadow, let’s go to work!”

Sam kept just above the tree line until they were out of range. Kathy took his kevlar vest off and cut up the center of Lou’s jersey. The vest did not stop the bullet. The entry wound was high on the right side of his chest. There was no exit wound. She hooked up a bag of plasma, gave Lou a shot of morphine, and stuffed the wound with bandages. While she was doing this, she called Frank, who told her to get Lou to Frederick Memorial. He would call ahead. They had a helicopter pad and a good reputation for emergency care.

Sam broke in and said, “We’re losing fuel fast. I think we can make Frederick, but we have no time to waste. Make sure the pad lights are on. I’m tapping into the air control system and declaring an emergency. We can’t deal with any delays.”

Kathy said, “Frank, here are the coordinates where Jack and Shadow got out. Jack asked that reaction teams stop at the wrecked truck and do not try to pursue. Jack doesn’t want the friendly fire problem. He’ll get them. Shadow can track at night. The terrorists will not be able to rest. Monitor the area for cell phone or push-to-talk radio. I’m sure they will try to contact the Professor or vice versa. Tell the emergency care people, Lou is barely conscious. I’ve got the bleeding from the wound under control. He is having increasing difficulty breathing and some bleeding from the mouth.”

Sam said, “There’s the pad. Buckle up. We are going in hard! Fuel is gone! Hope fire crew is standing by. I’m cutting all power! Hang on!”

When Kathy awoke, Sam was sitting by her bed. He had a large bandage on his head. Kathy sat up and said, “How’s Lou?”

“He’s still in surgery. That’s all I know. You’re in bed because we hit hard, and you cracked your head on something. I did, too. The doctors said we could both leave when we felt okay. Minor concussion, they said. My head hurts like hell, mostly from the stitches. You should rest before trying to get up. Lou’s daughter will be here very soon. The head surgical nurse swore she would come to this room with news about Lou as soon as she can.”

“Damn it, my head’s okay! It’s Jack I’m worried about. He’s out there hunting down three skilled killers, and he acted like he was going for a hike with his dog!”

“Ma’am, I wouldn’t worry too much about your man. I’ve seen many tough men but Jack is the coolest and toughest of all of them. He thinks he has the strongest hand. I think so, too. I wouldn’t want him and that huge dog on my trail.”

“Maybe so. We’ve been living with this kind of stress for two straight years. I’m beginning to doubt my ability to continue. The worst is the waiting. People you love are doing incredible, dangerous things. And as good as they are, they don’t always come back. We lost my best friend in a firefight last year. She gave her life to save Jack. Now she isn’t there to help.”

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 62

The Professor was just recovering from the shock of losing Ali. Hasani had done the right JWM Serializationthing. He couldn’t afford the CIA interrogating one of his people. Ali knew too much. An hour later he saw his picture and Hasani’s on a news alert. How did they get a picture of Hasani? No one should know he was here. His entry into the country was perfect. Hasani lived his cover and never made mistakes. He was vigilant and carefully checked the details.

They could change their appearances somewhat but extensive disguises were difficult to wear constantly. He knew a safe place was required to make each change from one appearance to another. No, they would have to avoid close up exposures to people. One of Hasani’s people would have to be their public face to buy supplies. Now they needed two more vehicles. They might have to steal the cars and trucks they needed and the license plates. Only the numbers on the license plates made individual vehicles of the mass brands identifiable.

He had no choice, multiple attacks had to be put on hold. Martyrdom was always a concept. Now it was real. His attack plans had to change. He would never get back to Pakistan. Tomorrow was the beginning of the last phase of his Jihad. He had to remember the purpose of terrorism is to terrorize. Terror was effective when it affected the common man. People expected terrorism to focus on embassies, airports, security infrastructure, landmark buildings and national treasures. They do not expect they will be involved, nor their property, nor their families. We must continue to pit Americans against each other and foster a lack of faith in their government. This will be a long struggle but one that is worth our treasure and lives. Hasani will be pleased that martyrdom is near. He never felt more alive than right now. Publication of their pictures complicated his plan. Just to keep the security forces scrambling, tomorrow the planned attack on the American Legion Memorial Bridge would go as planned. The attack team would not include Hasani. He needed Hasani with him to modify their plans.

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 61

Returning, Jack and Lou found the rest of the team busy planning a mission. They had JWM Serializationseen the news, including the report of a man killed by gunfire after being hit by an SUV. Jack called Frank, who came on the line after a couple of minutes. He said, “Jack, the guy killed on the Parkway was one of the shooters. He was carrying a handgun and a spotter scope. No identity documents. We have several 911 reports of this man being shot after being hit by a car. He was hit twice in the head from very close range. Obviously, a case of making sure he didn’t talk. The same reports said the killer jumped into a white pickup truck on the westbound lane. We have an APB out. I suspect they’ve already dumped the truck, probably in some big parking area. That’s part of the Professor’s M.O. Police are now searching all the parking areas between McLean and the Beltway. We should have the truck in an hour or so. Do you have anything?”

“Not much. Ten shots and ten hits from four to five hundred yards. Nearly exactly 10 seconds apart. Some of the targets were moving, maybe 20 mph. First shot was a head shot. Only a sniper with Hasani’s skills would take a head shot from that distance when he didn’t have to. The shooter was definitely Hasani. He never left any wounded behind. He always had them killed or he did it himself. He made a mistake, not realizing it is suicidal to cross the Parkway on foot when the traffic is moving fast and close. On the day or days he did his casing, the traffic could have been less dangerous. I have two suggestions. Circulate the Professor and Hasani’s pictures. Second, they will need to replace the truck. Canvass for anyone buying a used pickup, panel truck or van and paying cash. Unless they steal a vehicle, they have to pay cash. Oh, one more. I know you have people checking all the relevant cameras, but please tell us if anyone gets a hit.

“They’ll attack somewhere tomorrow. The same target should not be ruled out. If I provide some coordinates, can you have police or military counter-sniper teams in place? Tell them to set up only in the designated area and not to change positions. We don’t want to lose people to friendly fire.”

“Okay. I’ll take care of it.”

Jack rejoined the group. TV monitors covering major news channels were back to back with talking heads discussing who could be responsible, what could the motives be and what could the authorities do to make the roads and bridges safe for commuters.

Jack said, “I’m sure we’ll have another attack tomorrow. We need a list of probable targets now. Let’s cut the search area down with some common sense factors. I’ll start. The sniper’s target has to be worthwhile. Assume the target is the transportation infrastructure. Heavy predictable traffic, potential to cause major tie ups and spread terror. There must be an escape route the authorities cannot shut off with a quick road block. Drop offs and pickups require coordination and luck. Hasani would sooner have a place to park his transportation. Transportation could be one or two motorcycles. Okay. Give me some help.”

Lou said, “The targets will be random. He doesn’t have to search or wait for a designated target. Rush hour in this area is several hours long. He is not forced to meet a time schedule, so the sniper has an advantage. He can pick any few minutes to attack any of dozens if not hundreds of targets, while we have to cover targets 24/7.”

Storm said, “Keep it coming, this is good stuff and I’m getting it all down. I think the coordination link with this sniper has to be a cell phone. Therefore, all the areas we pick should be monitored for cell calls that match any intercepts from today’s attack. I suspect the cells they use are buy-and-throw units. Did they buy them all in advance or as they need them? Jack, your friends might check into their data banks.”

“Noted.”

Kathy said, “There are too many targets to protect. Even with a lot of help, they cannot all be covered. My suggestion is that we cover a few, say three or four with on-ground teams and the rest we cover from the air. Two helicopters with counter-sniper teams in the air during time of greatest threat. As soon as we get the first report of an attack in progress, the nearest bird heads to the attacked scene and drops the team astride the most probable escape route. Other assets swarm to the same area to set up roadblocks and deploy more search teams.”

As Kathy finished explaining her approach, a news alert showed up on the monitors. Clear pictures of the Professor and Hasani were shown as persons wanted for the sniper attacks. The men were described as committed Jihadists and were armed and dangerous. Do not attempt to apprehend. Call the authorities on the following hotline number.

Jack said, “Great, that should help smoke them out. Kathy, I like your idea. Storm, you and Lou pick an area for our helicopter to cover. Lou, you and I and Kathy will make up one team. I’ll see if I can arrange for a few more. I’ll need to tell them what area we are covering. Also we will need call signs and a cell or radio link to Storm and Kelly who will man this room. Kelly, don’t look so disappointed. You need some long-gun training first. I’ll try to work it in next week. Okay, everybody, you know what to do. Let’s move.”

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 60

Hasani called for pickup when he and Ali started up the wooded, sharply inclined slope. JWM SerializationHe knew they could be in position on the side of the westbound lanes in 12 minutes. Traffic would be heavy on the eastbound lanes. No matter they would get across. He didn’t think the police would have stopped commuter traffic. The capitalist minions had to get to work. They didn’t even know they were in the midst of a war zone. Next time they might be the targets.

Hasani was pushing Ali. Ali was breathing heavily and asked to take a one minute rest. Hasani refused and pushed on. He should have known men like Ali don’t keep themselves in good condition unless someone makes them. He had been so busy getting ready for the Professor’s war, he neglected his men. Now it was too late. Using his immense strength and stamina, he surged past Ali and grabbed his jacket and pulled Ali up the ridge. In a few places he had to use a convenient tree trunk to get them up to the edge of the Parkway. He could hear cars moving swiftly down the Parkway toward the major river crossings into DC. Pulling himself up, he saw the cars were moving at least 50 mph and nearly bumper to bumper. He thought these are crazy people to be rushing to their boring godless life’s work.

The white pickup had already pulled off the road and was impatiently waiting. The driver was waving his arm at them as Hasani, still dragging Ali, appeared on the edge of the eastbound lanes. Only the lanes of fast moving traffic with no breaks were between them and their escape.

At last Hasani saw a break in the traffic. Reaching back to grab Ali, he said, “Be quick. This is our chance.” The break came and Hasani dashed into the break, almost dragging Ali. Crossing the second lane of rapidly braking cars, Ali slipped from Hasani’s grasp and sprawled on the pavement. Hasani looked back, saw there was no chance of dragging Ali off the Parkway, and leapt off the pavement into the grass strip between east- and westbound traffic. He heard the sickening thud of a swerving SUV hit Ali who was trying to scramble to Hasani and safety. Ali was dragged nearly ten yards before his body rolled off the roadway. Hasani left his heavy pack by the road and raced to Ali. He saw that Ali still lived but was terribly mangled by the heavy SUV. Without hesitating, he pulled his Browning 9mm and shot Ali twice in the head. Then picking up Ali’s rifle, he ran back, snatched up his pack and darted through the sparse traffic on the westbound lane. As the pickup merged back into traffic, Hasani promised to give thanks for Ali’s support and his early martyrdom.

He told Asad, the driver, to get off the Parkway at the McLean exit and drive thorough McLean to the Tysons Corner shopping center. He knew he was seen getting into the white pickup after shooting Ali. In the day of everyone with a cell, reports of accidents and crimes flowed into 911. The pickup truck had to be dumped in the parking lot of the shopping center. He would call for a car from his other team members. He hoped he wouldn’t have to abandon his favorite sniping rifle. True to his reputation. Ten shots, ten hits. With that rifle and God’s will, he could not miss.

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 59

Butch Malone, supervisor of the eight to four shift, had just come on duty. He checked in JWM Serializationwith the traffic cops to make sure only the inbound lanes were being used this morning. Rush hour traffic was backed up for a least a mile coming down Chain Bridge Road, but moving orderly. His crew all had their instructions and he could see he was on schedule. He had a good crew and was proud of their can-do attitude. Many of the workers he had known for at least a couple of years. Butch was checking the Virginia end of the bridge when he saw the head of the cop directing traffic in the center lane explode. Butch had spent some time in the second Gulf War and knew a heavy caliber rifle sound. He dove behind a dump truck. The second shot boomed and the officer, who ran to the aid of the downed traffic cop, went down. She was hit in the chest. A large area of her back was gone. Blood was pooling in a low spot in the center of the bridge.

Butch used his radio to call for help. He yelled to his number to get the workers under cover now. With his cell he called 911 and told the dispatcher, “Gunshots on Chain Bridge. Two officers down. Send help. We are still under fire. Hurry.”

Three more shots had been fired. Three cars moving on the bridge rolled to an out-of-control stop. Cars close to the bridge that could see the growing confusion and damage, sped up to get across the bridge to safety. Before they reached the center point, three cars were hit in their passenger windows and crashed into bridge repair equipment. Others turned right from Chain Bridge Road and raced up Glebe Road, jamming it. The next two shots killed workers on the bridge who hadn’t found a protective place. Two minutes of no firing and people began to stir. Rescue and police vehicles couldn’t get through the jumbled traffic on the Virginia side. The Maryland end was clear and help was soon on the scene. Two of Butch’s workers were dead from head shots. In addition to the two police officers killed, four people in cars were dead and several other commuters were wounded, two severely.

Frank called Jack’s cell and told him to get up on the bridge and look around, find the sniper’s nest and see what we can learn for the next time. He said he would call the right people and for Jack to show his Pittsburgh police badge as an identifier. Jack yelled to Lou to pack up. He ran back to the car and slid to a stop near where he guessed Lou would emerge from the brush loaded with their gear. Lou dumped the weapons into the truck and Jack roared off to the bridge. A Maryland State Police officer was stopping traffic. Jack showed his badge and the officer waved him through. Parking in the first open area he found, they jumped out of the car and ran across the bridge to the Virginia side. Jack introduced himself to the lieutenant in charge. The lieutenant said, “I just got a call about you, telling me to give you anything you want.”

Jack said, “The sniper fired from somewhere downriver. Probably less than halfway down the ridge and no more than five or six hundred yards from where we are standing. I want to see if I can tell the angle of his shots. Then my partner and I will climb the ridge and see if we can find the sniper’s nest. One more thing, please tell your guys not to shoot at two guys in camouflage suits poking around on the ridge up there.”

Turning to Lou, Jack said, “If I remember correctly a trail runs down to the river from this end of the bridge.”

Lou said, “Yeah, I’ve been fishing along here and there is a way down.”

Jack said, “You check this end of the bridge for anything that’ll give us an angle of the trajectory. I’ll check the wreckage in the middle of the bridge. Yell if you find anything. Wait a minute, maybe we have the trajectory data right here. Lieutenant, where was the officer standing when he was hit when the shooting started?”

“Right over there at the nearest blood puddle. He should have been standing with his back to the shooter and facing oncoming traffic. I see what you’re thinking. He was about 5’11” or six feet tall.”

“Lou, stand over here. This is about one yard from the blood marker and you’re about the same height.”

Using his spotter scope, Jack plotted the trajectory to a general area and marked a prominent tree as a location point 425 yards from where the officer was standing. It took them 25 minutes to climb the steep ridge to the tree. Once there, Jack said, “This is an ideal spot. Good cover, a distance that Hasani could easily manage on a routine basis, and a path back up the slope to a Parkway pick up site. Now let’s find the exact shooting spot. He nearly always shoots from a tripod. The tripod marks will have been swept, but he will have left some mark. No one is good enough to clean up everything without leaving some track.”

Moving in ever-widening circles around the marker tree, Lou found a skid mark where it looked like a boot had slipped going up the slope. Using the skid mark, Jack asked Lou to hold his position while he looked for a tripod site that would give line of sight to the Virginia end of the bridge. The shooting site would have to provide space for a prone shooter and firm tripod site or a sandbag. Jack thought it more likely Hasani kept to his M.O. of using a tripod. It only took him ten more minutes to find the site. There were signs of the cleanup attempt and disturbed leaves where the shooter and his spotter had set up. No brass was found.

Marking the location with his iPhone App, Jack called Frank, gave him the GPS data and asked him to check cell phone traffic from the area starting at 8:06 AM. Hasani needed the cell call to set up an exact pickup time. The shooting started at 8:00 and was over within one minute. He estimated Hasani took five minutes to clean up and would need another ten minutes to climb the slope and to cross the Parkway to the westbound lanes, because going that way provided better escape routes than going farther toward the city on the Eastbound lanes. Traffic cameras may show the getaway vehicle, probably a pickup truck. The .50 caliber rifle Hasani used weighed 27 pounds. The spotter probably had a weapon also but not a heavy caliber. They probably carried the weapons concealed some way, maybe disguised as fishing gear. Frank said, “Good work. We’ll get right on it.” Then hung up.

Jack said, “We’re done here. Let’s get back to the house and get ready for the next attack.”

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 58

After the attack on the two bridges, Jack and Lou went into crash mode to counter the JWM Serializationsniper attack they believed would follow. They could only field one team. Kathy and Kelly weren’t up to going against Hasani now. Jack didn’t like not having the time to sight in and fire his rifle. Frank had his best people sight in the rifles but it was definitely not procedure to ever go hunting a sniper without a very thorough session with the rifle, ammo and sights. Jack accepted that emergencies often played hell with following the proper procedure. After studying topo maps and satellite imagery, they decided that their best chance was to work the Chain Bridge area. A deployment site area was chosen on the Maryland side of the Potomac and upriver from the bridge.

Just before first light, Jack pulled into a parking area at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal park about 300 yards upriver from Chain Bridge. Jack and Lou made their way into a clump of winter foliage and high grasses. With camouflage suits they blended in well. Jack knew the site was not good for watching the bridge, but it did give them good views of the opposite high ridges on the Virginia side. If a sniper was set up on those slopes, Jack was sure they could find him, but probably not until he fired. Dividing the search area into sectors, they began to search the opposite shore line and ridge. When the sun came up, Jack realized that Hasani would have spent hours scouting out the best shooting positions. For early morning shooting on a sunny day, it was better to be downriver from the bridge. Too late now. He could see some sections of the steep slope below the bridge. The distance to any probable sniper sites downriver was over a kilometer from their position and difficult due to the sun angle. He knew from experience hunting snipers took patience and extreme care to keep from becoming the hunted.

Two hours of constant searching turned up nothing. At 8:00 AM, the booming sound of a large caliber rifle fired from somewhere downriver broke through the sound of traffic. Nine more shots followed at almost exactly ten-second intervals. Jack had heard that sound before in Ramadi nearly eight years ago when he had been hunting Hasani and his .50 caliber sniping rifle. Even the interval was the same. After 20 seconds of no firing, Jack told Lou to scan for movement. The shooters were on the move, probably up to the Parkway.

Jack said, “Even if we see them, we’ve no shot. No sense in tipping them off that we have figured out their strategy.”

Jack got his cell out and moving a bit away from Lou, asked for Frank. He came on the line instantly. Jack said, “I’m sitting in the brush upriver from Chain Bridge. A sniper has just fired 10 shots. I’m sure he and his spotter are headed up the ridge to the Parkway for their escape ride. Look for pickup trucks. Check both inbound and outbound lanes starting from the first overlook below the bridge. He picked that spot to avoid shooting into the morning sun.” Frank hung up. Jack knew he was firing off orders to begin the hunt.

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“Justice without Mercy” Chapter 57

Hasani finished briefing the Professor on the car bombing operation. The Professor sat JWM Serializationsilent for a few minutes. “My friend, things went well. It’s a good start. Our security is intact. There is no trail back to us. The cars and the bodies will reveal nothing. Even the license plates were stolen. Tomorrow, the fools will expect more car bombs. Instead, you will show them the terror snipers can bring to the enemy. I accept your plan. Tomorrow, it will up to you personally. Take a good man with you. I need you. Your martyrdom is not for tomorrow. Rather, your outstanding skills will bring terror to the city Satan built. It is too bad we were not a team fighting the Templars outside of Jerusalem in the 12th century. Now get some rest. You won’t be able to sleep once you get in position.”

Hasani had scouted the possible firing positions he could use to attack the Chain Bridge area months ago. He knew just were to go and how to get there. At 11:00 PM, the driver of the white Toyota pickup pulled into an overlook area on the George Washington Parkway. The truck was stopped with lights out for less than a minute. Hasani and his spotter Ali were out of the truck with all their gear and starting down the steep slope of the Potomac River below Chain Bridge.

Hasani wanted to be east of the bridge to avoid shooting into the sun at the middle of the morning rush hour. His targets were all within 400 meters, a range he couldn’t miss from. They had a long wait. Hasani wanted to have the pickup truck blend into the normal traffic. After midnight the traffic thinned to the point that individual vehicles might stand out, or a patrolling police car might wonder why a pickup truck was stopping on the Parkway when hours before Chain Bridge was under attack. The killing of an officer always increased the vigilance of all security forces. The killing had not been part of the plan.

A light drizzle helped muffle the sound of their movement. Even so, Hasani enforced great discipline on himself and anyone under his command. No talking, smoking or jingling of equipment. Nothing that might reflect light. Their exit used different paths than the incoming. They had practiced moving on the steep slope many times, carrying fishing rods and proper licenses. They carried minimal equipment. His favorite sniping rifle, the Barrett M82A2, was American made, but they know how to make and use weapons. It weighed 27 pounds. He and his spotter carried a maximum of four magazine loads, 44, .50 Browning rounds.

The sniper nest was well concealed. He needed no night vision equipment to find his firing position. They were set up in ten minutes. The light rain and patches of misting fog might make it difficult to see the bridge and its approaches in the morning. He understood the necessity to be patient. He would wait hours for the right conditions. The Professor told him that the bridge might be closed or opened only for limited use, perhaps a lane for city-bound traffic. If it was closed, his targets were the workmen. The tactic wasn’t to maximize casualties. It was to bring the bridge under attack. Spreading terror was the goal.

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