First Video of American Drone Over Iraq
Predators helping hunt ISIS militants
Handheld footage appears to show a U.S. Predator drone in the sky over Anbar province in western Iraq. The video went live on Youtube on July 24.
The drone appears to be armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.
In 2011, at least 21 Predators moved from Iraq to Kuwait’s Ali Al Salem air base, where this Predator may be based.
In June, The Wall Street Journal quoted U.S. intelligence officials stating that drones had been flying surveillance missions over Iraq since last year, in order to provide the Iraqi government information on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group.
ISIS routed the Iraqi army starting in June and captured much of northwestern Iraq.
Some sources put the Predators in Iraq around December—although no officials specified the type of drone. In January, Le Figaro reporter Maurin Picard wrote that the U.S. was sending both Predator and Reaper drones along with missiles to arm them.
In May, Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al Maliki requested additional Predators … and also asked the Americans to train Iraqi personnel on the platform.
Around the same time, the Pentagon announced that it had armed some of the drones. Washington was in the process of deploying as many as 800 troops to Baghdad to help support the Iraqi government.
According to statements by Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, by the end of June U.S. drone were flying between 30 and 40 missions a day in and around Baghdad.