Recently, a video of two Islamic State fighters releasing an armed drone has been made available. The fixed wing drone flies off into the distance followed by another drone to take video. The first drone can be seen flying over Mosul in the direction of an Iraqi position. The drone drops its payload — a small explosive — over the Iraqi position.
Drones are the new weapon Islamic State forces are employing. The Islamic State has reported the formation of a select group of fighters they call the "Unmanned Aircraft of the Mujahideen Unit" and announce that it is "a new source of horror for the apostates!" according to the group's official al-Naba newsletter.
In the al-Naba newsletter, the Islamic State said, "The army of the Islamic State has revealed its use of the unmanned aircraft weapon for the first time." It described an "aerial bombardment" of Iraqi forces around Mosul and said that "most of the hits were precise and inflicted losses in the ranks of the apostates."
Although their effect so far has been minimal, United States officials confirm that the terrorist group appears to have crossed a threshold with its use of unmanned aircraft. The use of drones by the Islamic State began almost two years ago, but those were exclusively for surveillance. Now with this new development, they're using the commercially available drones as armed weapons in the fight against the Iraqi forces backed by the U.S.
Jon Harris is a Senior OpsLens Contributor and former Army NCO, Sergeant Morales Club member, civilian law enforcement officer, and defense contractor with more than 30 years in the law enforcement community.
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