The Islamic State’s Ninawa province has released a video highlighting its use of improvised weapons of war in the battle for Mosul, Iraq. The weapons include: vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) with armor attached, modified drones, and a remote-controlled rocket launcher. Children or young adolescents used as “martyrdom” bombers are also featured in the propaganda production.
The Islamic State has been battling Turkey and allied groups north of Al Bab, Syria since Nov. 2016. The US was reluctant, at first, to support Turkey’s ground operations near the town. But that changed after Turkey turned to Russia for aerial support. The Syrian regime and its allies also launched an offensive south of Al Bab earlier this month.
The Islamic State claims to have carried out 1,112 suicide attacks in Iraq and Syria during 2016. Additional suicide bombers were deployed in Libya and elsewhere. If the group’s claims are accurate, then the so-called caliphate has been using “martyrs” at a historically high rate.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency has released a new video featuring John Cantlie, who discusses the destruction of four of the five bridges in Mosul. The US-led coalition destroyed or damaged the bridges in November at the request of the Iraqi government in order to interrupt the flow of suicide bombers driving vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).
The Pentagon says that more than 60 vehicle bombs have been destroyed in airstrikes since the battle for Mosul began in October. The Islamic State claims to have carried out 120 “martyrdom operations,” many utilizing vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), during this same timeframe. However, some of these claimed suicide bombings were likely neutralized before they could hit their intended targets.