Islamic State assault strategy, sleeper cells & unit structure (Mosul & Tikrit)

The following simple strategy has been used effectively in Iraq over the last 12 months by Islamic State when attacking urban targets.

1. Several small IS units consisting of 10-15 men armed with RP7 and PKP weaponry initiate the attack against several pre-chosen and well recce’d soft points – simultaneously;

2. These agile units are supported by SUV trucks with heavy guns;

3. 60 to 90 minutes after the commencement of the assault the IS units fall back suddenly in an attempt to draw the opposing units from their positions;

4. Pre-deployed and well supported mortar groups and pre-positioned individuals with RPG’s are then employed if the opposing units leave their positions in pursuit of the “withdrawing” IS units;

5. Russian trained snipers, most of whom are ex-Iraqi army (under Saddam Hussein) or former special forces, are positioned on all approaching corridors to the urban targets;

6. The IS sniper units are mainly based in the Al Anbar desert region and the areas around Mosul. Many of the IS snipers have also trained in Yemen and are highly disciplined staying in position for days using IV feeders and many wear explosive vests;

7. The approaching corridors to the target are pre-prepared with IS vehicles and 60 to 90 minutes after the first “withdrawal”, suicide bombers and booby trapped vehicles and explosive laden trucks are driven toward any units that have followed the “withdrawal” while others are driven directly at pre-determined targets;

8. Suicide bombers “playing possum” wait for opposing units to approach and detonate when signalled to do so by a spotter – for maximum effect;

9. On the first day of the attack on Mosul, IS commenced the assault with a massive C4 laden truck bomb while employing multiple simultaneous ambushes;

10. Most of the IS suicide bombers are inexperienced foreign jihadists – typically young Europeans with no previous military experience and others from Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria. Chechen jihadists are preferred for the post-assault clean up (IS lingo for atrocities). For some bizarre reason most Irish jihadists are selected for sniper units begging the question: where did they get their experience from? and why were they allowed enter Europe if they have clearly been involved in Al-Qaeda or other training camps prior to their arrival?;

11. This simple but effective strategy was first proposed and employed by high ranking ex Iraqi army officers who assisted the effort with IS sleeper cells in Mosul and Tikrit who were called into action once the assault began.


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