Islamic State Media tweeted out the following earlier today:

If this photo is authentic it means IS is now killing or capturing U.S. troops in Iraq. On July 1, the AFP reported:

The reinforcements will include troops to fly and maintain Apache attack helicopters and unarmed surveillance drones, Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby told a news conference.

The Black Hawk is a utility helicopter and the Apache is an attack helicopter. If U.S. military personnel are piloting Apaches, there is a possibility they are also piloting the Black Hawks.

In June it was reported that U.S. Stinger missiles had “fallen into the hands” of ISIS. The Stinger is a shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapon.

“The introduction of manpads (Man-Portable Air Defense Systems) could be a game changer in Syria, like it was in Afghanistan in the 1980s with Stinger missiles,” an Arab official told TIME in April when the Obama administration mulled the idea of sending weapons to mercenaries in Syria.

The Lions of Khilafa appear to be Usoud al-Khilafah, or Caliphate’s Lions, a gang of Egyptian fighters who recently pledged allegiance to Abu Bakher al-Baghdadi, the emir of the ISIS, now simply the Islamic State.

Editor’s note: The helicopter is identified as Eurocopter SA 330 Puma. Iraq bought a number of Eurocopter aircraft in 2011.


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