As jihadi militants seize more territory in Iraq, they are boasting the capture of quintessentially American-made equipment symbolic of the dramatic turn of events since the eight year presence of U.S. troops on the Middle Eastern battleground.
Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) over the past day have been posting photos of the Humvees and other hardware they have grabbed, now fashioned with the black flag of jihad.
Here are some Twitter postings from reporters and academics who track the Middle Eastern militant group who found the photos posted on jihadi social media accounts. TheBlaze is unable to independently verify the images:
There was also a report that the formerly Iraqi Army Hummers were moved over the border to aid jihadi militants aiming to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad from power and institute Islamic law. ISIL is simultaneously fighting the Iraqi and Syrian governments.
Besides the armored vehicles, American-made helicopters may have also fallen into the jihadi group’s hands, though it’s unclear if the ISIL fighters have any helicopter pilots in their ranks.
Charles Lister with the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center and tracks the militant groups, noted that when ISIL captured parts of Mosul airport on Tuesday, they may have seized Blackhawk helicopters.
NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin found a call from ISIL for helicopter pilots. TheBlaze is unable to independently verify that report.
Another American-made chopper, not Blackhawk, was also reportedly in ISIL’s hands:
The Al Qaeda offshoot over the past week has seized key Iraqi cities, including most of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city on Tuesday, and Tikrit – Saddam Hussein’s hometown – on Wednesday, sending Iraqi government troops fleeing from their posts and leaving their equipment behind. When U.S. troops left Iraq in 2011, they left behind billions of dollars in bases and equipment paid for by U.S. taxpayers.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that ISIL has vowed to march on the capital of Baghdad, as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki scrambled to restrain the threat on his Shiite-dominated leadership. Among his plans, to distributed weapons to civilians willing to block the progression of ISIL militants.
ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani urged followers, “March toward Baghdad because there was have an account to settle.” The recording of his message was posted on a militant website that the AP was unable to independently authenticate.
The spokesman also articulated the group’s desire to capture the southern Iraqi cities of Karbala and Najaf which are home to two of Shi’ite Islam’s holiest shrintes.
The Obama administration said Wednesday that it was “deeply concerned” about the deteriorating security situation in Iraq.
Quoting an unnamed U.S. official, TheBlaze reported on Wednesday that the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is preparing contingency plans to evacuate its employees in the event the opposition fighters near the capital.
(H/T: International Business Times)