ISIS supporters on social media were boasting that the terror group now has an air force after the Islamic State released today their first video showing weaponized drones being used against Iraqi forces.
ISIS has previously used drone photography in videos to capture aerial shots of battles, and they have also been using drone IEDs that have progressively gotten more advanced.
The 38-minute video, posted on YouTube and other content-sharing sites, had been teased for a day with a trailer released by ISIS. It largely features suicide bombers in vehicles, including one young teenager who can barely see over the wheel of the armored car. ISIS uses drone photography to follow the suicide bombers and film the attacks from the air.
The video uses photography from another drone to show a weaponized drone flying toward its target, and cameras on the weaponized drone itself show the impact from dropping an IED on a group of people in a street. When vehicles start to respond to the scene, a suicide bomber in a car drives in and detonates in a follow-up attack.
ISIS continues to show a variety of other explosive drops from a drone’s vantage point, mostly targeting individual parked vehicles or small groups of people.
The blasts produced by the explosives are akin to grenades, appearing to inflict some injuries when aimed directly at people but seeming to have little effect when dropped on tanks.
A reporter and a cameraman for U.S.-funded Al-Hurra were injured last week in an ISIS drone attack on eastern Mosul.
Iraq’s defense ministry announced that their forces are in control of eastern Mosul — a city divided by the Tigris River — and have begun planning operations to retake smaller but more densely populated western Mosul.
In mid-October, just after the Mosul operation began, Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commander of Combined Joint Forces’ Land Component Command for Operation Inherent Resolve and commander of the 101st Airborne, told reporters that ISIS drones were in use.
The general described them as “really, a lot of commercial, off-the-shelf kind of things we’ve seen” — though they’re “clearly not the capacity or capability” that the coalition has.