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.
Blindfolded, tied up men with dislocated shoulders dangling painfully from ceilings. Teenage boys, hands tied behind their backs screaming for mercy, only for a soldier to execute them in cold blood. Ashen-faced women clutching onto their terrified children after they had just been raped. These are just some of the scenes taking place in Iraq. The most frightening thing about these horrific acts is that their perpetrators are not fighters from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), but in fact government troops and police units.
Iraqi forces this week reached a bridge over the Tigris River that bisects the city of Mosul, gaining a strategic advantage over Islamic State militants whom commanders described as increasingly desperate. "I saw many ISIL run away," said Maj. Gen. Najim Jabouri, Iraqi army commander for the Mosul offensive, using an acronym for the militant group as he returned from the front line in Mosul on Monday. "Some of them go to another bank of the river. Some of them run to Rashidiyah, [to] the north of Mosul." Nearly three months after an offensive was launched to recapture the city, Iraqi forces still face significant challenges.
BAGHDAD – Iraqi special forces cleared buildings on Saturday in neighborhoods they entered in eastern Mosul a day earlier, losing some ground in counterattacks after pushing out Islamic State militants in their drive to take back the city. Islamic State group fighters launched counterattacks in the thin strip of territory Iraqi special forces have recaptured, emerging from populated areas deeper in the city to target the troops with mortars and suicide car bombs. The extremists also attacked farther into territory Iraqi forces claim to control, pushing back some gains along the southern edge of the Gogjali district that Iraqi forces declared "liberated" on Wednesday. Fighting continued in the morning, with both sides firing mortars and automatic weapons on each other's positions, while the Iraqi troops also responded with artillery. Clashes were most intense in the al-Bakr neighborhood.
Iraqi forces launched an operation on Tuesday to retake a northern town from ISIL, a stepping stone in the campaign to recapture the main city of Mosul before year end. Tens of thousands of civilians are thought to be trapped in Sherqat, which lies on the Tigris River 100km south of Iraq's second-largest city. It has been surrounded by Iraqi troops and militias allied to the government. Officials have warned for months of a humanitarian disaster inside, where residents living under Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's harsh rule say food supplies have dwindled and prices soared. "The operation to liberate Sherqat started at 5:30am [0230 GMT] from several directions ... with the support of coalition forces," Joint Operations Command spokesman Yahya Rasool told the AFP news agency.