Targeting ISIS’s Death Machines

The US-led coalition against ISIS has focused its airstrikes on hand forged vehicle bombs—the group’s signature weapon against Iraqi forces. The “Mad Max” style trucks, which have improvised armor guarding the driver just long enough for him to detonate explosives in a close-range suicide mission, have been an effective weapon that ISIS is using in the battle for Mosul. Air Force Col. John Dorrian, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said during a Wednesday briefing that the coalition has used “strikes mostly from the air to destroy these anywhere that they can be found.” Near Mosul, coalition jets have destroyed more than 60 of the vehicles since the operation began on Oct. 17 in addition to hundreds that were destroyed in “shaping operations” leading to the offensive. Dorrian on Wednesday showed a video of a Nov. 5 US airstrike on a factory producing these vehicles. The resulting “secondary explosions” showed the explosive power that ISIS packs on the trucks, Dorrian said. (See also: Iraqi Approach to Mosul Moving Faster than Expected.)