Iraqi army seize ISIS drone factory in Mosul warehouse with planes and deadly four-wheeled robot bombs
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.
As well as unmanned drones, ISIS has also been constructing rolling improvised explosive devices, as can be seen from the rudimentary wheeled vehicles.
Hundreds of civilians fled Mosul’s Old City on Friday as Iraqi forces slowly squeeze the last pockets of Islamic State resistance, and the UN warned that the ‘intense and concentrated’ fighting put innocent lives in even greater danger.
The neighborhoods where government forces are fighting have been under siege for months as gruelling urban warfare drew out the operation to retake Iraq’s second-largest city.
For the civilians held as human shields by the extremists, supplies have run low and drinking water is scarce, according to residents interviewed at screening centres and clinics by The Associated Press.
The battles came a day after Iraqi forces made significant gains against the militants and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared an end to the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate.
After a dawn push on Thursday, Iraqi forces retook the symbolic site where the al-Nuri Mosque once stood. It was from the pulpit of the 12th century mosque, which the militants blew up last week along with its famous leaning minaret, that their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had proclaimed the caliphate in 2014.
The operation to retake Mosul, backed closely by the U.S.-led coalition, began in October, with the Iraqi government initially vowing the city would be liberated in 2016.
ISIS now holds a small patch of territory in Mosul’s Old City along the Tigris that measures less than two square kilometres (0.8 square miles). The terrain is dense, and the UN estimates tens of thousands of civilians are trapped there.
The clashes have displaced more than 850,000 people since the operation to retake Mosul was launched, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Source: Daily Mail