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Successful ISIS Drone Attack Kills or Wounds At Least Four

According to a French newspaper, what is being described as the “first successful ISIS drone attack” has killed or wounded at least four. The attack occurred earlier this month and used a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to engage Kurdish and allied French soldiers. The attack took place near the town of Dohuk, north of Mosul near Highway 2, killing two Peshmerga fighters and badly wounding an additional two para commandos of France’s CPA 10. Air Parachute Commando n° 10 is one of the units attached to their Special Operations Command, COS (Commandement des Opérations Spéciales), with personnel deployed to Iraq as part of Task Force Hydra.

The attack occurred on October 2nd, although word of it did not immediately reach media sources until yesterday. According to Le Monde, the UAV, reportedly about the size of remote control airplane, exploded when it hit the ground. The two injured commandos and an undisclosed number of other French SOF personnel from the 1 RPIMa (1er Régiment de Parachutistes d’Infanterie de Marine) were evacuated from the area after the attack. It has not been reported if this was due to additional casualties, pending follow-up attack, operational risk assessment, or concern for the weapon’s payload (remember, it has only been a couple of weeks since ISIS used a blister-mustard agent against US troops). The two Air Commandos were transported back to the Percy-Clamart military hospital in France, where at least one of them is reportedly in critical condition.

It is not known if Kurdish forces suffered any WIA (Wounded In Action) during this attack. Secretary General Jabbar al-Yawar of the autonomous Kurdish region confirmed the attack, but gave few details, telling Reuters, “It seems it was booby-trapped.”

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, also known as ad-Dawlah al-Islamiyya fil’Araq wa-Sham) has utilized UAVs before, but this is the first known to have been used in a casualty-causing attack.

Task Force Hydra is comprised of an unknown number of French troops who are operating alongside and mentoring Peshmerga forces as part of Operation Chammal, the French portion of CJTF-OIR (Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve). 1RPIMa is a Naval special operations formation with an “…airborne reconnaissance and special action mission.” They are also tasked with counter-terrorism missions. Like most French SOF formations, 1 RPIMa has conducted numerous combat operations against ISIS in various locations over the last few years, including Mali (cover image, photo credit AFP) and Niger (below, unknown photo credit, courtesy OPEX360).

French-SOF-deployed-to-Africa

The Peshmerga have been aggressive in their operations against ISIS, according to some much more so than conventional forces of their nominal Iraqi allies. The Kurds and Iraqis, who are uneasy partners at best, have had an increasingly contentious relationship as the former enjoys increasing success in liberating ISIS-held territory. As recently as six weeks ago Iraqi and Kurdish politicians were arguing publicly about the Kurdish advance. Fearing the Kurds would sieze and hold formerly sovereign Iraqi territory, Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for the Kurds to halt their attacks in the region, “even if they help the Iraqi Army.”

Le Monde and the Grey Cell Information Network both noted that the UAV had been intercepted by the French and Kurdish forces, and that it exploded when it hit the ground (the size and nature of the UAV was not revealed). According to reports, as well as the two wounded CPA 10 para-commandos up to a dozen French special forces soldiers from the  (1 RPIMa) were ‘evacuated’ following the incident, though it is unclear if this was because of injuries sustained or as a precaution against further such attacks.


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