Identity Of ISIS Drone Engineer, Plan To Improve Drones' Ability To Carry Explosives
By Anthony Kimery
A reputed Tunisian citizen named Fadhel Mensi, aka Abu Yusri Al Tunisi, is ISIS’s drone engineer, according to the Dubai-based TV network, Akhbar Al An, which broadcast a news report revealing the alleged identity of Mensi and featured his nom de guerre, images and other personal details.
The report “starts by explaining that the piece came after a 2GB hard drive that was found in one of ISIS’s headquarters in northern Syria was given to Akhbar Al An researchers. According to Musa, cross referencing the material on the hard drive led researchers to the engineer’s real identity,” said the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which monitors jihadists’ social media sites. “One document on the hard drive revealed that Al Tunisi was working to increase ISIS’s attack drones’ weight limit to enable them to carry up to 20 kg of explosives.”
Additional research by MEMRI indicates the engineer may be from the Tunisian town Siliana.
According to MEMRI, “Musa said that the thousands of files recovered from the hard drive included images of drones as well as a document written on ISIS Aleppo Province letterhead in which Al Tunisi presents a drone project codenamed ‘Ababil’ to ISIS command. Al Tunisi wrote in the document that he is a 47-year-old electrical engineer specializing in aerodynamics and aviation.”
Al Tunisi wrote that “the purpose of Project Ababil is to arm drones with 20 kg of explosives.”
Increasing a drones’ weight limit to carry 20 kg of explosives is a “dramatic and dangerous development,” authorities said.
“Today’s civilian drone – whether purchased as a single platform or assembled from disparate component parts – offers significant tactical advantages to terrorists. Strap a conventional explosive to a drone, and you have a remote control precision-guided bomb that can be flown into or onto a target of choice. The drone offers the advantage of evasion, as the operator does not have to plant the bomb at the target before detonation or get close to the target as would a suicide bomber, making identification and interdiction more difficult for law enforcement,” wrote Ben Lerner, a vice president at the Center for Security Policy, and Grant A. Begley, who previously served as Pentagon Senior Advisor for UAS/Drones in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, in the May 2016 issue of Homeland Security Today.
Read the full article at HSToday.