The Islamic State has pioneered a novel approach to finding spies among its ranks: killing hordes of its own fighters.
In one incident, the terror group massacred 38 of its own troops in the hopes of getting rid of informants, The Associated Press reports.
The massacre took place after the U.S. launched a targeted airstrike against a Tunisian jihadi named Abu Hayjaa al-Tunsi. His death immediately sparked alarm among ISIS leadership because his location and movements are closely guarded, though he certainly isn’t the only one to be picked off by U.S. targeting. Other major figures in ISIS leadership have been obliterated, too, leading to rank paranoia and execution of anyone who might be passing GPS coordinates over to the Americans. The problem of airstrikes is so prevalent that ISIS commanders are finding it virtually impossible to slink between Iraq and Syria.
Now, ISIS is scrutinizing anyone with a mobile phone or internet connection and picking off its own, which comes at a time when the group is already losing ground in both Syria and Iraq. ISIS will inevitably lose Fallujah, a crucial city in Iraq that Iraqi government troops are now assaulting with the assistance of U.S. air support.
Part of the reason why ISIS militants are sending over intelligence to the U.S.-led coalition is because of financial incentive. The plummeting price of oil, in addition to airstrikes, have made it difficult to collect revenue. ISIS in turn slashed the salary of its militants and reduced benefits.
Aside from execution, ISIS is disseminating false information to specific individuals about the locations of high-value targets. Once an airstrike hits that area, ISIS knows exactly who the spy is.
“Daesh is now concentrating on how to find informers because they have lost commanders that are hard to replace,” a senior Iraqi intelligence official told The Associated Press. “Now any ISIS commander has the right to kill a person whom they suspect is an informer for the coalition.”
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