ISIL successfully ambush British and Italian forces in Libya

by omouggos

Recently there have been some ‘blooper’ videos of ISIL fighters being killed in combat. In one such video an ISIL fighter manning a mortar is blown to bits when the mortar misfires and explodes.[1] In another video a group of fumbling and panic stricken ISIL fighters under fire from Kurdish forces are unable to return fire with the result that some are killed and the others take to flight.[2] While many will cite this as evidence that ISIL is made up of a rag tag bunch of losers and idiots, we should not underestimate the fighting capability of ISIL, at least of some of its units.

It looks like British and Italian special forces learned this reality the hard way in Libya. According to DEBKAfile a “convoy of Italian marines, British special forces and Libyan troops” was “ambushed and hit hard” by ISIL fighters.[3] It is believed that Italian marines were killed and wounded and that some “Western” troops were captured. DEBKAfile’s sources reported that European officials “were surprised by the high combat skills of the ISIS fighters.

ISIL started the ambush by detonating suicide vehicles laden with explosives alongside the convoy. Then a wave of suicide bombers were unleashed, while the convoy was bombarded with mortar and heavy machine gun fire. The convoy “was only able to escape after Italian and French warplanes and attack helicopters intervened.

In the aftermath of this incident, which is not being widely reported except by DEBKAfile and some British press, the proposed Western invasion of Libya will be delayed. British Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond has just stated that the deployment of British troops to Libya is not needed as ISIL in Libya does not pose an immediate threat to Europe.[4] I highly doubt that is in case, instead the British do not want to experience significant casualties in Libya, which based on the recent ISIL ambush seems to be a likely outcome.

Don’t let the blopper videos and Western propaganda fool you. ISIL has units of battle hardened fanatics who know how to kill and are willing to die themselves to do so. The most elite of such units are called Inghemasiyoun, which were described in an AP article as “Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death, wearing explosives belts to blow themselves up among their opponents if they face defeat.”[5]

Furthermore, ISIL employs quite sophisticated tactics that combine conventional warfare methods with terroristic ones. When attacking targets ISIL will first unleash a wave of suicide bombers, usually delivered via specially modified armored trucks.[6] The detonation of suicide bombers not only is intended to inflict heavy casualties on their adversaries, but also to disorientate and demoralize them as well. Next comes a conventional infantry assault, in which foot soldiers, backed by mortar and heavy machine gun fire storm the bombed positions.

Such tactics have been very effective for ISIL, as the Iraqi, Egyptian, and Syrian forces, and now European special forces, have experienced. It would be nice to think that ISIL was completely composed of cowardly idiots. Unfortunately they are not. As such to defeat them militarily will be an arduous task.

O Mouggos







[6] the following video shows an example of such an armored vehicle and how they are used