ISIS terrorists are using ‘factories of death’
The house overlooking the old city of Mosul is quiet now. Childrens toys, including a shattered plastic rifle, line the entranceway. A car sitting in a carport. From outside the nefarious purpose of this house goes unnoticed. Inside the floor of one room is strewn with sacks of metal filings. Another has a dozen half-made mortars clustered on the ground like fat seals sunbathing on the beach.
Mortars havent changed much in design since the Second World War. They are tapered at one end where a fuse is screwed on at the top. The fat, seal-like, body is full of the main charge of explosives and shrapnel and at the bottom are fins.
When ISIS invaded northern Iraq in 2014 it acquired a large quantity of military equipment the Iraqi army abandoned. However, it needed to create a local arms industry to keep its momentum going. Local engineers and former army officers who had served under Saddam Hussein took a leader in developing ISIS from an Islamist force of black-clad radicals into a conventional army.
One of its main local industries was the production of mortars, which can be fired from a tube in a yard and then hastily hidden. The bombs they fire wreak havoc on the frontline, not merely a nuisance but a deadly threat to soldiers and civilians alike. In recent days in east Mosul, which was liberated last year by the Iraqi army, many civilians are still being wounded by ISIS mortars.