French newspaper Le Monde is reporting that an incident earlier this month near the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Irbil marked the first time Western soldiers suffered casualties in a drone attack, with an ISIS drone attacking a group of Kurdish and French soldiers.
The drone was carrying an explosive device, and blew up, killing two Peshmerga and wounding two French soldiers. Those familiar with the situation say they are unsure if the bomb was detonated remotely, or if it was a timed explosive. It is similarly unclear if the drone rammed the soldiers or just dropped the explosive.
As the price drops, off-the-shelf drones are finding a role in the arsenals of many armed groups around the world, mostly used for simple reconnaissance and as a way to safely spot for artillery strikes. ISIS has had a considerable number of such drones, and used them in propaganda videos.
It is unclear what model of drone ISIS used, or how it was deployed, but such weapons are likely to play an increasing role in the insurgency in the years to come, with the Pentagon’s heavy investments in net guns and drone-killing eagles so far haven’t borne fruit.