Islamic State releases video from al Baghdadi

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Islamic State fighters who attacked the Al Asad airbase last week.

The Islamic State has released a video showing its fighters near al Baghdadi in Iraq’s Anbar province.

The video shows fierce firefights outside the city, as well as the use of US-made Humvees against the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and their Sunni tribal allies. The Islamic State also shows its fighters using technicals (armed pickup trucks), as well as rocket propelled grenades (RPG’s) in the assault. Several dead bodies from the ISF are shown before the group switches to showing its “spoils” gained in the fighting. At least two Ford F-350 series trucks are shown,  with one Chevrolet truck mounted with a covered heavy machine gun also being showcased. A plethora of weapons and ammunition are then displayed in the video before it ends.

The city, which sits close to the Al Asad airbase, has been under siege for months. According to Reuters, a district manager said that “Ninety percent of al-Baghdadi district has fallen under the control of the insurgents” last week. Reuters goes on to say that the Islamic State attacked from two directions, and then proceeded to advance into the town. The Washington Post reported that an estimated 1,000 fighters took part in the offensive in al Baghdadi.

While some Iraqi officials claimed that Iraqi Security Forces and their Sunni tribal allies in the Awakening were able to drive the Islamic State attackers back, a tribal leader from the Albu Nimr tribe countered these claims by saying that fighting still raged in the city. However, it was reported that Iraqi Security Forces has launched an operation to clear out the western and southern portions of the city. Despite this report, the Islamic State was able to execute 26 members of the Albu Nimr tribe, as well as blow up Anbar’s oldest mosque. Last week, the Islamic State executed more than 150 civilians shortly after its offensive in the city.

It has been reported that ISF have entered the western and southern portions of the city. It has also been reported that reinforcements have arrived at Al Asad airbase to support the operation. Aircraft from the international coalition have reportedly assisted ISF personnel in the fighting in al Baghdadi. Some sources have suggested that al Baghdadi was liberated over the weekend, but this has not been confirmed and fighting was still raging in the city as of today.

Additionally, the Islamic State took credit for attacking Al Asad, in a message released in its daily radio announcements last week.

“In addition, the army of the Caliphate made progress in the area of al Baghdadi, as soldiers of the Islamic State targeted the Safavid [a derogatory term for Shiites referring to the ancient Persian dynasty] al Asad Base in al-Baghdadi, where the American military trains forces of the Safavid army,” the statement, which was translated by SITE Intelligence Group, said. The jihadist group has also released a photo showing the fighters who launched the suicide assault on the base (seen above).

Currently, around 320 US Marines are stationed at Al Asad. The Marines are there to train and reorganize the Iraqi Security Forces and Sunni tribal fighters to fight the Islamic State. For more on the assault on the airbase, as well as the large-scale takeover of al Baghdadi, see LWJ report Islamic State takes over large portions of town near key airbase in Anbar.

Pictures from the Islamic State video can be seen below:

Islamic State using a Humvee against Iraqi positions:

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Setting a Humvee on fire:

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Talking with a local man:

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An Islamic State fighter targeting Iraqi positions:

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An Islamic State fighter giving a speech to the camera:

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An Islamic State technical and sniper:

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An Islamic State technical mounted with an anti-air gun:

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An Islamic State fighter with a rocket-propelled grenade:

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Islamic State targeting an Iraqi vehicle with what looks like Shia militia markings on it:

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Islamic State fighters taking the Iraqi flag off of a Humvee:

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Showcasing its spoils in the fighting:

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Caleb Weiss is a research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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4 Comments

  • mike merlo says:

    sounds like the ISF’s “Rope ah Dope” strategy is working out quite well. Am also pleased to read that US Military hardware is being put to good use & US Truck Manufacturer’s are ‘making’ some headlines besides those Japanese Models.

  • EAS USMC says:

    It looks like IS controls all the roads in western Al Anbar. Definitely all of the former Route Bronze/Uranium/Tin corridor. Baghdadi is on the fringes of mortar range of Al Asad, a 120mm mortar could probably get to the airfield and maybe “mainside”. If the Iraqis maintained the tower system (but I doubt it), then IS would have a hard time getting in close to the base. I wonder what the ROE’s are for the Marines there now. Very restrictive I would guess. Does anyone know if the Iraqis are able to reinforce the base, either by ground or air? Does anyone know if the bigger FOB’s such as Hit, Al Qaim, or Korean Village (near Rutbah) are still in Iraqi control?

  • Dritalin says:

    I was in Al-Asad AB in 10-11 training IA/IP, I’m starting to look for familiar faces :/

  • Reader says:

    I believe that was a recoilless rifle, not an RPG. Also that Humvee had a VS-17 panel on top, which is an IFF marker for coalition aircraft, IE “don’t shoot me I’m friendly.” I think the green was mistaken for Shia markings. Minor nitpicks 😉

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