ISIS Using Drones, Other Innovating Tactics with Deadly Effect

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In this Friday, Jan. 27, 2017 photo, an Iraqi officer inspects drones belonging to Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)


MOSUL, Iraq — First the tiny drones buzz overhead to observe Iraqi soldiers. Then, the Islamic State group's flying machines return to drop a small explosive device to sow panic among security forces — or deadlier still, to help guide a suicide car bomber to a target.

And the innovations are expected to keep coming since IS has been spending freely on technology, even as their fighters face intense pressure from coalition forces, according to Iraqi military officials.

The extremist group is hacking store-bought drones, using rigorous testing protocols and innovating tactics that mimic those used by U.S. unmanned aircraft to adapt to diminishing numbers of fighters and a battlefield that is increasingly difficult to navigate on the ground.