ISIS Militant Posts Selfie At Group’s Headquarters In Syria, American Forces Use Photo To Locate Building And Blow It Up
One ISIS member apparently took his love of selfies a little too far.
Reports from Syria claim that a member of the Islamic State group posted online a picture of himself at a headquarters building. American intelligence forces also happened to see the picture, but instead of “liking” it, they used the picture’s data to glean the location of the building, then blew it up.
Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, who leads Air Combat Command, relayed the tale of the ill-fated ISIS selfie to Defense Tech.
“The guys that were working down out of Hurlburt, they’re combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities for Daesh, ISIL. And these guys go: ‘We got an in.’ So they do some work, long story short, about 22 hours later through that very building, three [Joint Direct Attack Munitions] take that entire building out.”
American forces have been making up ground on the Islamic militant group, which swept through large portions of Iraq and Syria last year. U.S. airstrikes have been credited with helping to slow the group’s advance and allow Kurdish and other separatist forces to reclaim some land in northern Iraq and other areas, including the Syrian border with Turkey.
This week, the Pentagon said that airstrikes have killed more than 10,000 ISIS militants in the last nine months. It was the first time that U.S. officials had put a figure to the number of ISIS taken out in the airstrike campaign, as in the past, other officials have said that they aren’t as concerned with how many militants are killed.
“The less of these guys that are out there, certainly that’s the better, but the goal is to degrade and destroy their capabilities,” Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said back in January. He added of the total death count: “It’s simply not a relevant figure.”
The U.S. has said in the past that airstrikes are not meant to defeat the group, but simply cripple their ability to travel and communicate, and to support other militant groups fighting ISIS. But the U.S. does bring a higher intelligence capability, as the ISIS selfie incident showed.
It didn’t take long for American forces to act on the ISIS selfie. Gen. Garlisle said forces had dropped munitions on the headquarters within a day after the picture was posted online.
[Image via Getty Images / Gokhan Sahin]