A HERO SAS sniper gunned down a knife-wielding Islamic State (ISIS) maniac just as he was trying to brutally behead a father and his young son.
The brave British marksman saved the terrified eight-year-old and his father after taking out the crazed jihadi with a head shot from 1,000 metres away.
The special forces crack shot then killed two other members of the hated terror group, who were also taking part in the sick planned execution.
ISIS militants had decreed that the little boy and his father must die after branding them “infidels” because they refused to denounce their faith.
They were just seconds from death when the hero sniper intervened to stop the barbaric killing in the Syrian desert. The pair were part of the minority Shia sect of Islam which ISIS considers to be heretical.
They were saved from a cruel and painful death at the hands of the fanatics after an Iraqi spy tipped off British special forces to the planned execution.
Special forces troops who arrived at the killing site, where ISIS was carrying out a series of rigged ‘trials’ of locals, discovered a gruesome scene with several headless bodies already lying bloodied on the desert floor.
The dramatic rescue operation took place last month near the Syrian border with Turkey, where an elite SAS unit had been conducting covert patrols.
Defence sources described how the SAS unit moved into a position just outside a village where ISIS members were holding the ‘trial’ in front of a crowd of locals who had been forced to attend at gunpoint.
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The crack team considered calling in an air strike using a Reaper Drone, but the elite troops feared many of the innocent civilians who had been forced to watch the executions might also be killed.
Instead the SAS unit decided on a risky long-range kill using the team’s sniper.
Speaking to the Daily Star Sunday, one source said: “There were several decapitated bodies already lying on the ground.
“Through binoculars the soldiers could see that the crowd were terrified and many were in tears.”
A man and a young boy were dragged out in front of the crowd and were made to kneel down.
“They were both wearing blindfolds and looked terrified.
“A tall bearded man emerged and drew a long knife.
“He began addressing the crowd and slapping the father and his son around the head and kicking them on to the floor.
“Standing either side of the executioner were two other Isis fighters, both armed with AK47s.”
The SAS marksman, using a .50 calibre sniper rifle fitted with a silencer, killed the executioner just in time.
The source added: “The ISIS thug who was about to decapitate the father was shot in the head and collapsed.
“Everyone just stared in confusion. The sniper then dispatched the two henchmen with single shots – three kills with three bullets.
“Someone from the crowd then ran over and untied the father and son’s hands and took their blindfolds off.
“They just stared at the bodies and then ran. They were last seen heading towards the Turkish border in a pick-up truck.
“It was a good day’s work.”
The SAS team was later told the village held a party to celebrate the deaths of the ISIS fighters and it is understood terrorists have since refused to enter the town.
SAS teams have fought alongside resistance fighters in both Iraq and Syria for more than a year.