US bombs ISIS island

80,000 pounds of bombs were dropped on an island believed to be used by ISIS, Sept. 10, 2019. (Combined Joint Task Force)

(Compiled from articles by Chad Garland, Stars and Stripes and Danielle Haynes, UPI) — U.S. coalition forces carried out airstrikes on Qanus Island in the Tigris River, an Islamic State hideout and transit hub this week, U.S. military officials said.

U.S. F-35s and F-15s dropped some 80,000 pounds of munitions on the island Tuesday in the Salah ad Din province. Iraqi forces followed with ground clearance to attack remaining militants left after the strikes.

“We’re denying Daesh* the ability to hide on Qanus Island,” said Maj. Gen. Eric T. Hill, commander of Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. “We’re setting the conditions for our partner forces to continue bringing stability to the region.” [*Daesh is another name for the Islamic State terrorist group, which is also referred to as ISIS.]

…Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III shared a video of the strikes on Twitter. … The operation “demonstrates our continued partnership to enable [Iraqi security forces] keep its boot on the forehead of ISIS,” Caggins said.

The operation was aimed at destroying the major transit hub at Qanus Island for ISIS members moving from Syria and the Jazeera desert into the Mosul, Makhmour and the Kirkuk regions.

The island lies near Qayara West Airfield, known as Q West or Forward Operating Base Endurance, which was home to U.S. forces during the Iraq War of 2003-2011. It had been seized by ISIS in 2014 after President Obama had removed U.S. troops.

The base was recaptured by U.S.-backed forces and used as a staging ground as part of the nine-month battle to retake Mosul from the terrorist group that began in late 2016.

While ISIS was routed from the last of the territory it held in Iraq in late 2017 and ousted from its last bastion in Syria early this year, the group has continued to carry out targeted killings and arson of crops in both countries. Officials have warned that the group is seeking to regain its capabilities and remains a threat as an insurgent movement in both countries.

“ISIS remains a threat in Iraq and Syria,” the Pentagon’s lead inspector general for the U.S. operation in the region said in a report last month.

Tuesday’s strikes were meant to disrupt the hardline Islamist group’s ability to hide in the thick vegetation on the island, the coalition statement said.

Compiled from a September 10 report at Stars and Stripes by Chad Garland and a Sept. 11 report at UPI by Danielle Haynes. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission.


1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)

2. What did Iraqi forces do following the U.S. coalition airstrikes?

3. What is Daesh?

4. What was the purpose of the airstrikes on Qanus Island this week? Be specific.

5. a) What has the Islamic State continued to do after they were ousted from Syria earlier this year?
b) What warning have officials given about ISIS terrorists?

6. Ask a parent:
a) Do you think the U.S. can/should completely destroy the Islamic State? How/why/why not? Please explain your answer.
b) What effect on Americans, on the Middle East, and/or on the world, do you think the Islamic State terrorists will have if they are not eradicated? Please explain your answer.

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