ISIS cells burned hundreds of acres of farmlands in the northern and western parts of Iraq, mainly in Khanaqin, Makhmur and Tikrit, over the last few weeks.
Iraq sources revealed that these sabotage operations were a punishment to local farmers, who had refused to pay Zakat [an Islamic tax] to the terrorist group.
“The militants have begun collecting royalties from the villages of Makhmur, asking the owners of the harvesters $5,000, and imposing a Zakat of between 15 and 20% on the crops … The farmers have lost seven months of efforts, which were consumed by fire for refusing to pay the royalties,” an Iraqi security official said commenting on a recent fire that devastated dozens of acers of wheat and barley in Makhmur.
At first, it was though that ISIS terrorists were simply using fuel to set fire to the crops. However, TØM CΛT, a twitter account observing the security situation in Iraq, released photos on May 18 showing never seen before improvised devices used by the terrorist groups to start the fires.
The device, which is could be described as a remote-controlled improvised-incendiary device (RC IID), is built around a simple Nokia 1280 mobile phone. The terrorists connected the phone’s 3.5 mm audio jack to what appears to be a thin resistance wire, of an unknown material. A V-shaped metal piece was used to make sure the two ends of the wire will remain in place.
The phone’s original Li-Ion 850 mAh battery was apparently replaced with a more powerful one of 1,200 mAh, likely to make sure the IID will have sufficient power.
The IID is activated by a phone call. Electricity from the audio jack goes through the resistance wire heating it up to temperatures high enough to start a fire. The phone and the SIM card inside also burn.
These easy-to-make devices have allowed ISIS cells to commit their crimes from a partially safe distance, while leaving behind little to no evinced, in most cases.
Thankfully, the locals were able to uncover several IIDs, which will likely help Iraqi security forces to track the perpetrators and bring them to justice.