Military


Who Is Sally Jones? ISIS Member 'White Widow' Allegedly Killed In Syria

International Business Times

Sally Jones, a former punk rocker from Kent, United Kingdom, who gained notoriety as "Mrs Terror" after joining the Islamic State group (also called ISIS), was reportedly killed in a United States drone strike along with her 12-year old son Jojo in Syria as she tried to escape Raqqa, the Sun reported. Though Whitehall sources confirmed reports that Jones was killed, according to the Guardian, the Pentagon was unable to confirm the news. Jones collected another nickname -- White Widow --after Hussain was killed by a U.S. army drone in IS group capital of Raqqa in 2015. Metro reported that in a Twitter post after Hussain's death, Jones claimed she was "proud my husband was killed by the biggest enemy of Allah, may Allah be pleased with him."


DJI: U.S. Army Won't Say Why It Banned Our Drones, Products

International Business Times

The memo cited a classified report, "DJI UAS Technology Threat and User Vulnerabilities," and a U.S. Navy memo, "Operational Risks with Regards to DJI Family of Products." The rule also applies to other items from the company, including flight computers, cameras, radios, batteries, speed controllers, GPS units, handheld control stations, and devices with DJI software applications installed. "We can confirm that guidance was issued," the U.S. Army told International Business Times on Tuesday, "however, we are currently reviewing the guidance and cannot comment further at this time." Others have expressed privacy concerns regarding data collection, as reports claimed DJI shared information with Chinese authorities, a claim the company has disputed.


U.S. Army Orders Units To Stop Using DJI Drones Over Concerns

International Business Times

The Army Aviation Engineering Directorate has issued over 300 separate Airworthiness Releases for DJI products in support of multiple organisations with a variety of mission sets. The Army ordered its units to halt the use of DJI products, including all of the company's unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The Department of the Army memo even reports that they have'issued over 300 separate Airworthiness Releases for DJI products in support of multiple organizations with a variety of mission sets.' Others have expressed privacy concerns regarding data collection, as reports claimed DJI shared information with Chinese authorities.


US Fighter Jet Downs Iranian Drone In Syria, Second Pro-Regime Aircraft Shot Down In 3 Days

International Business Times

"The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. Carla Babb, the Pentagon correspondent for Voice of America (VOA) tweeted Tuesday saying the sources have confirmed that the Iranian-made drone shot down by the U.S. fighter jet was being operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday it would exert new control over the skies of western Syria in response to the downing of a Syrian fighter jet by the U.S. Air Force on Sunday, reports said. "From now on, in areas where Russian aviation performs combat missions in the skies of Syria, any airborne objects found west of the Euphrates River, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles belonging to the international coalition, tracked by means of Russian land and air anti-aircraft defense, will be considered air targets," CNN reported citing the Defense Ministry statement. The U.S. military has established a roughly 50-kilometer "deconfliction" ring around al-Tanf and has warned the pro-Assad forces -- through a Russian deconfliction channel -- that movement within the zone could be considered hostile and the Iranian drone was outside that deconfliction area when it was shot down, the Washington Post reported citing a U.S. defense official.


THAAD Site Under Threat By North Korea? South Korea Accuses Pyongyang Of Spying Using Drone In Seongju Region

International Business Times

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, which is designed to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles, is being deployed in Seongju in order to protect South Korea from Pyongyang's growing threats. "It was confirmed that (the craft) took photos of the THAAD site in Seongju," a South Korean defense official told reporters, adding that the distance between the border and the zone in North Gyeongsang Province is around 168 miles. A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. "The THAAD defensive missile system is critical to protecting South Koreans from Kim Jong Un's arsenal," U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said in a statement last week.


Trump Allows CIA Drone Strikes, Reversing Obama Policy: Report

International Business Times

Shifting from the drone policy of the Obama administration, President Donald Trump has given the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants, anonymous U.S. officials said. Under the Obama administration, the CIA used drones and other intelligence resources to locate suspected terrorists and then the military conducted the actual strike. Although officials said that the new authority under Trump is only for CIA's operations in Syria, it is likely the CIA may be able to conduct drone strikes in other areas as well. "There are a lot of problems with the drone program and the targeted killing program, but the CIA should be out of the business of ordering lethal strikes," said Christopher Anders, deputy director of the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union.


Is The US Going To War? Somalia And Al-Shabab, Al Qaeda Affiliate, Targeted By Obama Administration

International Business Times

Amid Syria's five-year-old civil war and Iraq's push to expel the Islamic State group from its major cities, President Barack Obama has quietly reneged on promises of "no boots on the ground" in recent years. A campaign involving private contractors, drone strikes and up to 300 U.S. Special Operations troops against the al Qaeda offshoot group al-Shabab has been escalating there over the past year, the New York Times reported Sunday, citing "senior American military officials." Somalia, along with Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, isn't alone when it comes to American military involvement. On Thursday, Oct. 13, the U.S. engaged in direct military action with Somalia's neighbor, Yemen, entering into a civil war there between the Yemeni government and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.


ISIS Drone Attack In Iraq Kills 2 Kurdish Fighters, Injures 2 French Soldiers, Reports Say

International Business Times

Neither Iraqi officials nor French authorities have confirmed the incident. However, American authorities told the Times that the militants masked a battery in the drone as an explosive device. Three reported drone attacks in Iraq have been attributed to ISIS. The Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency are examining the use of drones by ISIS, according to the Times.


China Exporting Military Drones Worth Millions Of Dollars

International Business Times

China exported military drones worth hundreds of millions of dollars to over 10 countries, state-run media said Thursday. Shi did not name the countries that bought the drones, the numbers of drones sold or the exact deal value, but said that the academy's most valuable sale was worth "hundreds of millions of U.S. The academy is also planning to get an export license for the new CH-5, which made its first test flight last August, and can launch air-to-surface missiles and laser-guided bombs, Shi said. SIPRI said Chinese weapons were mainly bought by other Asian countries, and named Pakistan as the biggest buyer.


Drone Strikes Account For More US Military Attacks Than Conventional Warplanes

International Business Times

The data shows just how much American forces have come to rely on the unmanned vehicles to carry out missions in the Middle East and abroad, even while human rights organizations and some foreign governments have raised concerns over what they call an unnecessary amount of civilian casualties. Drone account for a huge amount of air strikes, proportionally, compared to just five years ago, according to the data reviewed by Reuters, making up 56 percent of air attacks in 2015 compared to 5 percent in 2011. The use of drones to carry out American military interests has been a very divisive issue. While those in favor say the drones reduce risk for U.S. troops and requires less manpower in the region, critics say the tools -- which could theoretically be controlled from anywhere in the world -- cause unnecessary civilian casualties.