ISIS uses armed drones in Iraq

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ISIS uses armed drones in Iraq

ARBID, Iraq (APP) - The Islamic State group drone hovered in the sky over the advancing Iraqi forces before dropping a grenade, the jihadists' latest move to weaponise small off-the-shelf aircraft.

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Down below, the grenade exploded on the roof of a building where Iraqi police forces were sheltering as they advanced some 10 kilometres (six miles) south of Mosul, the last IS-held Iraqi city.

No one was injured, according to an Iraqi officer, but the incident nonetheless represents another escalation in the war of commercially available drones that is playing out as Iraqi forces battle the jihadists.

Masters of invention IS jihadists have booby trapped household appliances and turned cars into armoured suicide bombs as they try to stymy the Iraqi forces.

Now they seem to have found another way to try to slow the progress: weaponising the $1,000 drones that they normally use to spy on their foes.

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"We have recorded three incidents," police Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Moayyad told.

The jihadists appear to have used an add-on -- similar to those intended to help fisherman drop their hooks farther out at sea -- to release the drone's payload, Moayyad said.

They rig the grenade so the pin is pulled free when the explosive device is dropped, arming it.

While this attack was relatively primitive and -- for now -- pretty ineffective, IS drones have already proved more deadly in other ways.

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Last month a hobby plane rigged with explosives killed two Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters and injured two French soldiers.

According to a US defence official, the incident unfolded on October 2 when a small plane with a styrofoam body was either shot down or crashed in Arbil in northern Iraq.

Two Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters grabbed it and took it back to their camp to inspect and photograph it, when it blew up.