Spotlight: IS resorts to new tactic to evade detection by Iraqi forces' thermal cameras

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-24 22:10:28|Editor: xuxin
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BAGHDAD, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Iraq's security forces' increasing dependence on thermal cameras is now met by a new tactic from the Islamic State (IS) militants, who tried tinfoil cloaks to evade detection by the cameras.

"Thermal cameras played a major role in monitoring IS militants' movements in rugged areas in northern Diyala, such as Himreen mountainous area," Abu Ahmed al-Shammari, leader of Hashd Shaabi, told Xinhua.

According to Shammari, Hashd Shaabi foiled an infiltration attempt by IS militants four days ago in al-Safra area, some 90 km north of Diyala's provincial capital Baquba despite tinfoil cloaks worn by some of the extremist militants.

"Tinfoil cloaks may reduce effectiveness of thermal cameras but Hashd Shaabi have a substantial monitoring experience and they are vigilant to thwart IS movements, regardless of their tactics," Shammari said.

Another security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that "we have experienced such using of tinfoil cloaks recently by IS, including one in the rugged area of al-Safra."

Outside Iraq, al-Qaida militants in Yemen previously resorted to similar tactics to dodge detection by U.S. drones with thermal cameras by wearing what they called "invisibility cloaks" made of aluminum foil.

Few years ago, al-Qaida published a propaganda training video showing steps to make anti-detection portable body wraps, using tarpaulin covers, aluminum foil and twigs.

Al-Qaida claimed that it would prevent detection by thermal cameras.

However, it is not clear to what extent the homemade cloaks are effective in avoiding detection.

Sadiq al-Husseini, head of security committee in Diyala's provincial council, said that "IS militants often change their ways to try to avoid the security measures taken by the troops."

Regardless of IS capacity to adopt new tactics in attacking civilians and military posts, Husseini believes that thermal cameras have been an "effective weapon" in the fight against the extremist militants even in bad weather.

"In facing IS makeshift tactics, Iraqi security forces and Hashd Shaabi brigades also change their means to hunt down the extremist militants and thwart terrorist attacks," Husseini added.

In light of recent reports of new IS tactics, Yacoub al-Rubaie, military expert from Diyala, said that "the use of tinfoil cloaks by IS proves the effectiveness of infrared thermal cameras in the battle against the extremist militants."

"It reflects their desperation in overcoming the security measures taken by security forces and Hashd Shaabi," the expert added.

The security situation in Iraq has been dramatically improved after Iraqi security forces fully defeated the extremist IS militants across the country late in 2017.

However, groups and individuals of extremist militants melted or regrouped in urban and rugged areas, carrying out attacks against the security forces and civilians despite military operations from time to time to hunt them down.