US bombs ISIS island

Daily News Article   —   Posted on September 12, 2019

(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.