ISIS drone kills Kurdish fighters, hurts French troops

The remote-controlled hobby plane rigged with hidden explosives killed Kurdish fighters and injured French special operations troops near Mosul

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A remote-controlled ISIS hobby plane rigged with hidden explosives killed two Kurdish fighters and injured two French special operations troops near Mosul, French and US sources confirmed Wednesday. While the Pentagon has previously said ISIS uses simple, commercially available drones to conduct surveillance and carry small explosives, this was the first known deadly case.

According to a US defense official, the incident unfolded October 2 when a small plane with a styrofoam body was either shot down or crashed in Erbil in northern Iraq. Two local Kurdish peshmerga fighters grabbed it and took it back to their camp to inspect and photograph it, when it blew up.

“It looks like the explosive charge was hidden inside of what appeared to be a battery on some sort of a timer,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. A French source earlier confirmed the use of a “booby-trapped drone in Iraq,” while another confirmed that two French soldiers were hurt in the incident.

One of the French soldiers has life-threatening injuries. Both have been flown back to France for treatment. The French military declined to comment. Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, described the incident as a “Trojan Horse-style” attack.

“There was an improvised device on a drone. And when that was brought back to the camp, it exploded,” he said. US defense officials said the military was deploying additional anti-drone technologies to the theater, including systems that provide electronic jamming.

Zaatari new UN aid envoy

Meanwhile, Syria on Wednesday accepted the accreditation of Jordanian national Ali al-Zaatari as the new UN envoy tasked with overseeing the struggling humanitarian effort in the war-torn country. Zaatari arrived in Damascus at the weekend and formally began work on Tuesday as the UN’s new humanitarian relief coordinator in Syria, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The former UN deputy envoy for Libya and for Sudan has also worked in Syria as the UN Development Program’s resident representative from 2004 to 2007. Zaatari will replace Yacoub el Hillo of Sudan, who was the aid coordinator since 2013 and who was recently appointed to be UN deputy envoy to Liberia.

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