February 09, 2007

Video: Terrorists Shoot Down U.S. Chinook Helicopter (Updated)

The Salafi jihadi umbrella organization which includes al Qaeda, The Islamic State of Iraq, has released a video showing the downing of a U.S. Chinook Helicopter on February 7th. The video is posted below. Updates at end of post.

Here is the animated picture released with the video by al Furqa media, an al Qaeda in Iraq production company. Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but al Qaeda has several production companies

The helicopter appears to have been downed with an anti-aircraft missile. A few days ago the same Islamic State of Iraq claimed to have discovered a "new method" for shooting down helicopters. But it is increasingly becoming clear that this "new method" is the use of anti-aircraft SAMs, probably brought in from Syria or Iran. Update: Roggio thinks Iran. See below.

As is common with al Qaeda linked jihadis, the announcement claimed that 15-20 "Crusaders" were killed, and not the 7 that actually lost their lives.



The Islamic State of Iraq, through its al-Furqan Foundation, the official producer and distributor of multimedia for the group, issued today, Friday, February 9, 2007, a two and a half minute video of their claimed attack from February 7 in which a Chinook helicopter was downed in the area of al-Karma, in al-Anbar governorate.In the prior communiqué, the Islamic State indicated that the craft was shot down by its “Anti-Aircraft” battalion and this was purportedly witnessed by hundreds of people who shouted “Allah is Great!”. The message from today introducing the video notes the U.S. Army announcing the death of seven soldiers; however, the group claims that eyewitnesses observed 15-20 bodies removed from the scene.

Footage shows a Chinook helicopter in flight and then fire erupting from its tail end. A smoke trail follows as it plummets to the ground.

UPDATE: Just found this by Bill Roggio. Excellent analysis. As a little background, the Islamic State in Iraq claims to have organized cells specifically aimed at downing helicopters.
The cells are thought to be armed with Russian made Strela SA-7 anti-aircraft missiles, a first generation shoulder fired anti-aircraft missile which is widely distributed throughout the world. These weapons are not as sophisticated as U.S. made Stingers, which were used with deadly consequences by mujahideen in Afghanistan against Soviet fixed and rotary wing aircraft. U.S. aircraft have systems to deter missile threats (jammers, flairs, chaff) but there are no reports these systems were deployed during any of the engagements....

It is surprising al-Qaeda has not made a more concerted effort to bring down Coalition aircraft. The military, political, and propaganda value of destroying U.S. helicopters is too great to be ignored. It has been speculated al-Qaeda in Iraq didn't possess enough weapons systems or training to effectively field the missiles.

The suspicion is the Islamic Republic of Iran is behind supplying al-Qaeda with the needed weapons, training and logistical support to supply and field a successful anti-aircraft force, much as the United States provided the mujahideen with Stingers in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

UPDATE II: Bill Roggio updates with the news that the helicopter probably was shot down with a more advanced SAM:
Sources indicate the cells may actually be using the SA-14 Gremlin (or Strela 3), which "has an improved system of overcoming countermeasures, increased range and flight altitude," according to Global Security, and was "developed for destroying low flying aircraft and helicopters." This second generation surface to air missile was developed in the late 1970s.

An intelligence source indicates "a large batch of these Strelas were transfered to al-Qaeda," but would not identify the country of origin. We noted, based one multiple sources, the likelihood is Iran is providing the weapons to al-Qaeda, and the timing of the activation of these cells is to close to the rise in tensions between Iran and the U.S. to be a coincidence.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:26 AM | Comments |