MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti) - Islamic State (IS) insurgents in northern Iraq allegedly have modern anti-aircraft missile systems that can down passenger jets, according to German intelligence data obtained by a local newspaper.
At the end of last week, the German foreign intelligence agency BND reportedly briefed the country's parliament on the new threat coming from the violent IS grouping, which is believed to be in possession of Manpads, a type of portable surface-to-air systems, the Bild daily said Sunday.
According to the newspaper, the anti-aircraft systems could have been manufactured in Bulgaria or China using Russian designs. Some of them are more than 40 years old and were seized from the Syrian Army.
Several airlines still fly in the northern Iraq airspace, including Austrian Airlines and Qatar Airways. According to Bild, passenger planes are most vulnerable to Manpads during take-off and landing.
Earlier reports said IS fighters were also using chemical weapons in Iraq, firing shells filled with chlorine at residential districts outside the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
The Islamic State, which is a Sunni jihadi group, has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.
This prompted a US-led air campaign against Islamic insurgents in August. Airstrikes have slowed down the IS advance, though IS still controls swathes of land in northern Iraq and Syria.