Coalition troops in Iraq had “quite a laugh” after an Islamic State fighter’s plan to bomb them backfired, a security source told The Sun.
According to the Sunday report, the incident took place last year after the Battle for Mosul in northern Iraq. The terrorist customized the drone to carry plastic explosives and then set out to bomb troops still operating in the city.
ISIS has in some cases effectively weaponized civilian drones to attack U.S. troops and their partner forces. But in this case, the terrorist failed to appreciate that the devices are programmed to “boomerang” back to their launch point when the battery gets low to prevent them from being lost.
He realized too late that the drone was inadequately charged when it turned around and detonated over his head.
“We learned this idiot had wired up his drone with explosives but was killed when it’s batteries ran low and it flew home,” the source recalled. “This caused quite a laugh for us, but the drone threat is very real.”
The source said that the story is “still keeping morale high today.”
When one ISIS fighter blows himself up its funny, but the drone threat is serious
While the Battle for Mosul officially ended in coalition victory in 2017, friendly troops are still stationed in the area to train Iraqi forces.
According to a New York Times report last week, ISIS has gathered new strength in the five months since losing their territorial claims. The group has refocused on conducting guerrilla attacks across Iraq and Syria, retooling its financial networks and finding new recruits.
The source said that commercial drones, like the Chinese-made DJI Phantom, are one of ISIS’s deadliest weapons against his troops. He said the group has become advanced in using the devices as flying bombs, dubbing them its “Air Force.”
One common tactic is to push a hand grenade with the pin pulled into a steel tube attached to the drone. Terrorists then fly the drone over their target and remotely tilt the device so the grenade slides down the tube and releases the trigger mechanism. Some grenades are even outfitted with fins to help them fly more accurately.
“Drone warfare is hugely effective for insurgents. They can see where we are operating, choose targets, then launch a coordinated attack from up to three miles away,” the source said. “They are very hard to shoot down with small arms. The most effective response is to find the operators and kill them on sight.
He added: “The hapless ISIS fighter blew himself up months ago, and the hope is his stupidity will put off other insurgents.”
- ISIS fighters launch a customized drone.: Screen grab