Not Enough to Worry About Yet? Islamic State Training Pilots to Fly

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 at 8:15 am

We’re sure it’s just for peaceful purposes like Iran’s nuclear program.

Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time that the militant group had taken to the air.

The group, which has seized land in Syria and Iraq, has been flying the planes over the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report.

U.S-led forces are bombing Islamic State bases in Syria and Iraq. The group has regularly used weaponry captured from the Syrian and Iraqi armies and has overrun several military bases but this was the first time it had been able to pilot warplanes.

“They have trainers, Iraqi officers who were pilots before for (former Iraqi president) Saddam Hussein,” Abdulrahman said.

“People saw the flights, they went up many times from the airport and they are flying in the skies outside the airport and coming back,” he said, citing witnesses in northern Aleppo province near the base, which is 70 km (45 miles) south of Turkey.

On the upside these Iraqi clowns aren’t exactly the most reliable of fighting forces. Still, remember those stories about missing airliners?

A report that 11 planes were stolen or missing days after Libya’s Tripoli International Airport was overtaken by Islamist militias is unfounded, a State Department official told Washington lawmakers Wednesday while defending U.S. policy in the war-torn country.

“We have had the opportunity to examine that issue, and I can say categorically it is without foundation,” said Gerald Feierstein, deputy assistant secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

That’s reassuring coming from the State Department.

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