Smoke rises near a stadium where some Islamic State militants are holed up after an air strike by coalition forces, in Raqqa, Syria, Oct. 12, 2017. Around 100 fighters from the Islamic State group have surrendered since Friday in Raqqa, with the Syrian city said to be on the brink of falling to a U.S.-led coalition. Meanwhile, a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province on Thursday killed 14 ISIS militants, Afghan officials said Saturday. In Raqqa, all of the combatants were "removed from the city," a spokesman for the U.S-led coalition against ISIS told Reuters on Saturday. ISIS was said to be on the verge of defeat in Raqqa, the report said.
As the battlefield use of commercial drones by ISIS extremists becomes more prevalent and sophisticated, there is growing concern that these unmanned aircraft systems could be used in terror attacks inside the U.S. Drones, relatively inexpensive and easily purchased online or at a local big-box retail store, have been modified by ISIS fighters to drop grenades or to surveil troop movements overseas. The terror group continues to bolster its use of weaponized and surveillance drones against Iraqi and U.S. forces. In April, U.S. Central Command told Fox News that coalition troops have as many as 30 encounters a week with unmanned aerial vehicles. In fact, ISIS announced the formation of a new drone warfare unit in January, whose sole purpose is to inflict "a new source of horror for the apostates." And, according to a January report by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point "we should expect the Islamic State to refine its drone bomb-drop capability.
A U.S. aircraft shot down an armed Iranian drone advancing on coalition forces in southern Syria on Tuesday, Fox News confirmed. The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle about 12:30 a.m. after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces. This is the second the U.S. shot down an Iranian drone in less than a month. The coalition forces were manning an established combat outpost to the northeast of At Tanf where they are training and advising partner ground forces in the fight against ISIS. This is the same location where another pro-regime UAV dropped munitions near Coalition forces before it was shot down on June 8.
A U.S.-led coalition drone strike in Raqqa, Syria, killed three Islamic State fighters, two of whom helped facilitate the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday. The third fighter killed on December 4 was involved in a foiled suicide attack plot targeting Europe in 2015, U.S. officials said. A Belgian court had convicted him in absentia. "The three were working together to plot and facilitate attacks against Western targets at the time of the strike," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters. He said the fighters were involved in a terror network led by Boubaker Al-Hakim, who was killed in a coalition airstrike last month.