Wooden propellers lie on a stripped-down drone, among tyres and gas canisters. Elsewhere, a four-wheeled contraption stands silent, preparing for its deadly mission. As the battle for Mosul rages on, Iraqi forces recently discovered this ISIS factory which has been making various death machines - from aerial drones to multi-wheeled robot bombs. The crude hardware was unearthed in a warehouse in the Al-Shifa neighbourhood on the fringes of the Islamic State-occupied Old City. Working with whatever they can salvage, the jihadis have been retrofitting hobby drones with explosives and, in some cases, building devices from metal pipes and repurposed small engines - including from motorbikes.
SOUTH OF MOSUL, IRAQ – Closely supported by the U.S.-led international coalition, Iraqi forces secured a series of cautious advances on Thursday, pushing into a sprawling military base outside of Mosul and onto the grounds of the city's airport, where they took control of the runway. The three-pronged attack began just after sunrise, with three convoys of Iraqi forces snaking north across Nineveh's hilly desert on Mosul's southern approach. Iraq's special forces joined federal police and rapid response units in the push -- part of a major assault that started earlier this week to drive IS from the western half of Iraq's second-largest city. By afternoon they had entered the Ghazlani military base south of the city, as well as the airport. Iraqi helicopters circled above Mosul firing down onto the city's southwestern edge.
An explosive-laden drone, sent by the Islamic State group (ISIS), was intercepted and shot by Kurdish forces in Iraq early this month, according to reports Tuesday. However, the drone blew up and killed two Kurdish fighters and injured two French soldiers. The incident reportedly happened on Oct. 2 in Erbil, which serves as the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, where French troops have been fighting along with Kurdish fighters against ISIS, according to the New York Times and French newspaper Le Monde. Neither Iraqi officials nor French authorities have confirmed the incident. About 500 French military personnel have been deployed in Iraq to fight ISIS.
Chilling aerial footage of Ramadi, a once bustling city in central Iraq, has captured the extent of destruction caused by war. In late December, Iraqi forces, backed by US air strikes, announced the recapturing of Ramadi, which had been lost to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group in May 2015. The US-led coalition carried out more than 600 air strikes in the area from July to December last year. A new six-minute clip, released by the International Red Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC) shows homes in Ramadi turned to rubble, along with flattened school, destroyed hospitals and damaged ambulances. READ MORE: Dramatic video'shows destruction of huge ISIL convoy' "Rare aerial footage gathered by ICRC shows the once prosperous Ramadi in central Iraq now in tatters - a ghost town," the ICRC said on Monday.
After securing the southern edge of militant-held Fallujah, seven battalions of Iraqi special forces units have been unable to advance for two days -- a delay that commanders say isn't due to counterattacks or difficult terrain, but rather to disagreements about battlefield strategy among the disparate Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State group. Since IS overran Mosul in the summer of 2014, two groups have come to dominate the fight against the militant group in Iraq: The country's elite counterterrorism special forces and the government-sanctioned, largely Shiite militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Both groups maintain their own command and control structure, creating a more time-consuming planning process than in recent anti-IS operations in Anbar province where the counterterrorism forces largely worked alone. Since the start of the assault to retake the city two weeks ago, conditions for civilians in Fallujah have swiftly deteriorated.