REYKJAVIK, Is. – A British man who was abducted in early 2011 while on holiday in Blackpool has been reunited with his family after five long years in captivity thanks to the valiant efforts of the Víkingasveitin, or Viking Squad, Iceland’s elite counter-terrorism force. A specialized unit within the group known as Echo Squad, which excels at aircraft hijacking and surprise assault operations, staged a daring nighttime rescue operation last week, Iceland’s largest newspaper, Fréttablaðið, reported on Friday.
According to the National Commissioner of Icelandic Police, forty-eight year-old Jack Davies of Glasgow was one of five hostages held captive by a heavily armed group led by a man known only as Father Kristmas. Icelandic authorities say the cult had been living in a subterranean cave on the island of Elliðaey. As stated by Davies during a post-rescue debriefing, several dozen dwarfs armed with Kalashnikov rifles stood guard while their captives were forced to work nearly twenty hours a day making toys.
“We were kept underground and made to sleep and work in a very rudimentary workshop,” Davies is quoted as saying. “If we inquired about water or wanted to relieve ourselves, we were beaten. Those who tried to communicate with one another were shot without question and their bodies discarded beneath a ghastly juniper tree that appeared to be decorated with human remains.” Davies went on to say that as punishment, he and other hostages were often forced to sing Christmas carols until they collapsed from exhaustion.
The Viking Squad’s official spokesperson, Chief Inspector Gunnhallur Heimirsson, said that just before sunrise on August 1, a team of twelve operatives mounted a surprise amphibious assault on the island of Elliðaey in an effort to rescue Davies and four others, including two Americans. “The squad members were quickly met by hostile elements who engaged them with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades,” the chief inspector said. A ninety minute gun battle ensued, resulting in the deaths of more than seventy dwarfs, many of whom were armed with red and white striped clubs, which Icelandic operatives described as “lethal candy canes.”
“Regrettably, all but one of the hostages died at the hands of their captors during the operation,” Heimirsson said, adding that Mr. Davies had likely been spared because, prior to the raid, he had been locked inside a toy chest as punishment for failing to assemble a child’s battery-powered motorcycle. Icelandic authorities took a small number of cult members into custody, however, their charismatic leader, Father Kristmas, refused to surrender and later died in a hail of bullets.