On Tuesday, Air Force F-15 Strike Eagles and F-35A Joint Strike Fighters unleashed almost 80,000 pounds of bombs on targets located on an island in central Iraq as part of a larger operation. The US-led coalition was working to “deny safe haven” to ISIS militants who were crossing through and hiding on the island.
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The strike took place on Qanus Island, which is located south of Mosul on the Tigris River in central Iraq.
“We’re denying [ISIS] the ability to hide on Qanus Island,” Maj. Gen. Eric T. Hill – the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve’s (OIR’s) Special Operations Joint Task Force – in a press release.
“We’re setting the conditions for our partner forces to continue bringing stability to the region,” Hill continued, according to a report by Military.com.
Col. Myles B. Caggins, a spokesperson for OIR, posted a video on Twitter showing bombs being dropped onto the island.
In a statement, Air Force Central Command asserted that the strikes came at the “behest of the Iraqi government,” adding that Qanus Island is thought to be “a major transit hub and safe haven for [ISIS].”
The press release also stated that the goal of the operation was to “disrupt [ISIS’] ability to hide in the thick vegetation.”
Officials confirmed that “ground clearance operations” by Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service forces to “destroy any remaining [ISIS militants] on the island” are ongoing.
The strike highlights the fact that, despite the declaration that ISIS was defeated in March of this year, the group still poses a threat.
The Pentagon estimates the number of ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria to number about 14,000 to 18,000. In 2014, the number was likely between 20,000 and 31,500, based on a CIA estimate at the time.
VIDEO: Here’s what it looks like when @USAFCENT #F15 and #F35 jets drop 36,000 Kg of bombs on a Daesh infested island. 🛩💥 هكذا تبدوا الجزيرة الموبوءة بداعش بعد أن أسقطت عليها الطائرات المقاتلة #أف-15 و #أف-35 36,000 كغم من الذخيرة pic.twitter.com/2v6FAEL9Rn
— OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III (@OIRSpox) September 10, 2019