ISIS using hobby drones to bomb forces in Mosul
US official says militants attaching small munitions to quadcopters in an attempt to kill local forces as they retake Mosul
ISIS militants are using small commercial drones to attack Iraqi security forces in the battle for Mosul, a US commander said Wednesday.
Colonel Brett Sylvia, who commands an “advise and assist” US unit in Iraq, said ISIS militants are attaching small munitions to quadcopters in an attempt to kill local forces as they retake Mosul, the last major ISIS 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.
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.” Iraqi forces have retaken at least 80 percent of east Mosul from ISIS militants, the spokesman of the special forces spearheading the campaign said Wednesday.
“There’s a lot of fight that’s left to do in western Mosul,” Sylvia said, noting that IS had conducted extensive defensive work. Still, he said, ISIS resistance had weakened in several areas.