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The Islamic State is shooting down Iranian drones in Iraq

Who is flying these downed birds before their demise?


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Posted on Feb 16, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 1:01 pm CDT

The skies sure are getting crowded.

Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists have been shooting down Iranian-built drones and proudly tweeting out their kills, according to the blog War Is Boring.

The most recent ISIS drone shootdown occurred near Samarra, a city 70 miles north of Baghdad. The militants downed a Ababil-3 drone sporting an Iraqi flag on its tail.

Islamic State militants stand atop the downed drone

Islamic State militants stand atop the downed drone

Twitter and War is Boring

Iran first deployed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Iraq during the bloody 1980-1988 war between the two neighboring countries. Since then, Iran’s allies across the Arab world have used drones manufactured in Tehran. Here’s a video of what is believed to be an Iranian drone flying over Syria.

The Ababil-3 is Iran’s latest drone model. The presence of an Iraqi flag on the UAV has raised questions about who owned it. Are the Iraqis running their own drone missions now, or are the Iranians lying about who is flying their drones against the Islamic State?

The New York Times reported last year on the extent of Iranian drone missions in Iraq. War Is Boring created a rundown of Iran’s extensive history of exports, including its practice of donating drones to allies.

We may not know who owns this or other downed drones, but thanks to the Islamic State’s undying love of Twitter, we know we’ll see photos of them immediately after their destruction.

Photo via Twitter

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*First Published: Feb 16, 2015, 8:57 am CST