Drone attack on Iraq’s Erbil airport, which hosts US troops

There’s been an attack targeting US troops in Iraq. And it appears to have likely used modified Enterprise-style drones that were packed with explosives. Reports are still emerging, but it appears the device was brought down outside the walls of the airport compound.

A quick editor’s note: We don’t tend to cover strikes involving military-style drones such as the MQ-9 Reaper. That’s partly because our coverage focuses on news in the consumer and Enterprise/First Responder realm. DroneDJ is not a defense news website. But when the attack appears to use Enterprise-style drones that have been modified, that’s a different story.

And that appears to be the case here.

Details

They’re still unfolding, and much of what we’ve been able to glean at this stage is coming via Twitter. This post captures the loudspeakers at the US Consulate in Erbil, where employees were told to stay indoors and away from windows. It seems likely this broadcast was made soon after the targeting of the airport:

Confirmation

A tweet from the official US spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve – an 83-member coalition united against ISIS – confirms the attack but points out it occurred “in vicinity of” the Erbil Air Base, and not directly on the apparently intended target:

Other tweets showed video of burning trees and possibly some structures. We cannot verify this is from the location, but other tweets described brush fires caused by the explosion(s).

Rockets?

The Jerusalem Post and others reported that multiple rockets were involved in the attack, as well as three UAS. However, multiple reports are discounting that rockets were fired and that it was one, possibly two drones. They appear to have been brought down just before reaching the Air Base, exploding just outside it.

BBC reporter Nafiseh Kohnavard (@nafisehkBBC) reports it was a single drone:

She also notes this is but the latest in a series of attacks that began in June:

And the drone?

Well, there are no pictures yet from this particular incident. But a photo taken during a recent attempt shows a downed drone that appears to be a commercial Enterprise-style model, modified to carry explosives. We don’t know if this is the same kind of weapon deployed in this latest attack, but there have been no indications it was a larger, military-style of drone (which would have had a better chance of hitting its target):

There is some online speculation as to the potential manufacturer of this drone, but we’re not going to go there. Newsweek reports that a group calling itself Saraya Awliya al-Dam has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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