What's that drone flying in over the horizon? It's a scout from Islamic State

Los Angeles Times

The silence was shredded by the rat-tat-tat eruptions of a single gun. More soldiers fired, their volleys coalescing into the grim music of war -- a sustained snare drum roll soon interrupted by the bass thumps of the 50-caliber machine gun. All the barrels pointed at a speck tracing a line in the sky over west Mosul. Their target was yet another drone dispatched by Islamic State. In the seven months of the Iraqi government's drive to recapture Mosul from the jihadists, small drones have become a signature tactic of the group: Their appearance on the horizon, loaded with a camera, signals that punishing mortar barrages will soon be on the way.

Iraq: ICRC camera drone captures damage in Ramadi

Al Jazeera

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.

U.S.-aided Iraqis retake Mosul airport, face Islamic State drone attacks

The Japan Times

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.

ISIS drone factory is seized by Iraqi forces in Mosul

Daily Mail - Science & tech

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.

Islamic State using hobby drones to drop small munitions on Iraqi forces in Mosul: U.S. colonel

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Islamic State jihadis are using small commercial drones to attack Iraqi security forces in the battle for Mosul, a U.S. commander said Wednesday. Col. Brett Sylvia, who commands an "advise and assist" U.S. unit in Iraq, said IS fighters are attaching small munitions to quadcopters in an attempt to kill local forces as they retake Mosul, the last major IS 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, using an Arabic acronym for IS. The group's use of small drones is not new, Sylvia said, though initially they were mainly used for reconnaissance.