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ISIS is reportedly using cows strapped with bombs for suicide missions
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Islamic State militants in Iraq used cows strapped with explosive vests in a recent bombing operation, according to a New York Times report published Wednesday.
At least two cows were seen with explosive vests in the southeastern Iraqi village of Al Islah, where they were then remotely detonated when they were close to homes, a provincial police commander said, according to The Times. The cows, which The Times said could cost more than $1,200 each, were killed and homes were damaged. No humans were believed to be harmed in the incident.
Vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices have been widely used by terrorist organizations for suicide missions, as have animals. In 2013, a suicide bomber with a donkey killed three NATO troops in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Times suggested the recent attack was a sign the Islamic State wanted to preserve the lives of its members who might otherwise die in a suicide bombing.
Wednesday's report came amid a scathing assessment from the Defense Department's inspector general warning that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, could be resurfacing in light of the US's decision to withdraw its troops from Syria.
"ISIS remains a threat in Iraq and Syria," the report's lead inspector general, Glenn Fine, wrote. "This quarter, ISIS continued its transition from a territory — holding force to an insurgency in Syria, and it intensified its insurgency in Iraq."
Though estimates vary, about 14,000 to 18,000 ISIS members are still believed to be operating in Iraq and Syria, according to public data cited in the inspector general's report. The figures include up to 3,000 foreigners.
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Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)
Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.
Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.
75 years ago, Audie Murphy earned his Medal of Honor with nothing but a burning tank destroyer's .50 cal and insane bravery
Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018
On January 26, 1945, the most decorated U.S. service member of World War II earned his legacy in a fiery fashion.
Florida senators are pushing for Purple Hearts for service members wounded in the NAS Pensacola shooting
Florida's two senators are pushing the Defense Department to award Purple Hearts to the U.S. service members wounded in the December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.
"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.
The Navy completed its last force-structure assessment in 2016. That 30-year plan called for a 355-ship fleet.
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The police officer killed during a traffic stop in Newport News on Thursday night was a well-liked young officer who just graduated from the police academy seven months ago, Police Chief Steve Drew said at a somber news conference Friday.