ISIL weaponizes hobby drones
Islamic State jihadists are using small commercial drones to attack Iraqi security forces in the battle for Mosul, a US commander said Wednesday.ISIL remains creative in producing many of its own weapons and using Mad Max construction of its vehicle borne bombs which have been sued like heavy artillery and in attempts to clear an avenue of approach for fighters. The drones are closer to what the US military calls harassing and interdiction fire.
Colonel Brett Sylvia, who commands an "advise and assist" US unit in Iraq, said IS fighters are attaching small munitions to quadcopters in an attempt to kill local forces as they retake Mosul, the last major IS bastion in Iraq.
"They are small drones with small munitions that they've been dropping," Sylvia said.
While the munitions were no larger than "a small little grenade," he said, that was enough to do what "Daesh does, and that's just, you know, indiscriminate killing," he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
The group's use of small drones is not new, Sylvia said, though initially they were mainly used for reconnaissance.
"They are (now) using them to drop munitions as Iraqi forces push into Mosul," he said.
He added that US-backed local troops have been able to bring down many of the drones, making them "much less effective than they were."