IS Drone
IS is developing drones to attack Iraqi soldiers AP

Islamic State (IS) is now using drones to wreak havoc amongst Iraqi soldiers in Mosul, Iraq according to a report by the Associated Press. Iraqi security forces first reported seeing IS drones in 2015, but the sightings have become more frequent in recent months.

Investigators from the AP conducted a search of a warehouse in Mosul earlier this week and uncovered parts of drones, receipts of supplies purchased and reports on IS missions. Islamic State appears to have an open budget, spending thousands of dollars a month on drone materials according to the AP report. It has purchased drones from stores and advanced their technology to fit their requirements or even bought supplies to make their own. The purchased supplies are usually smuggled into Iraq through Syria according to an Iraqi intelligence officer.

Initially, IS equips the drones with GoPro cameras and flies them over Iraqi troops to record their location. They are then flown back to IS headquarters, fitted with some sort of small explosive device, and flown back to attack the Iraqi troops.

IS also uses drones to direct suicide bombers they deploy. The drones reportedly fly over the road and members at IS headquarters will direct the bomber via radio where to go. The streets of Mosul are filled with debris and difficult to navigate. The aerial view the drones provide allow for IS members to attack Iraqi troops more easily.

When Iraqi troops see the drones overhead, they immediately run to any available shelter. Troops hope the drone is only fitted with surveillance equipment, but they know the dangers if they wait to find out. Iraqi Special Forces told the AP that the drones have killed three Iraqi soldiers and injured dozens.

Iraqi Special Forces have tried several things to combat the IS drones, but are still working to find a perfect solution. Iraqi Special Forces members have the ability to jam the airwaves so the drones can’t communicate their location to IS headquarters and often crash as a result. Special force members are also trained to shoot down the drones if at all possible, AP reports.

Jonathan Schroden, director of the Center for Stability and Development at the Center for Naval Analyses believes the commercialization of drones has allowed IS to use them. They are easily able to take the technology and add to it. The drones used are not complex, they look like “toys” according to Schroden. They are built with Styrofoam and metal poles, but have proven to do their job.