On Sep. 10, 2019 U.S. Air Force (USAF) F-35A Lightning II and F-15E Strike Eagle jets bombed an “ISIS-infested island” in northern Iraq, according to the video in this post and a statement from the U.S.-led coalition battling the terrorist group.
More than 80,000 pounds of laser-guided bombs were dropped on Qanus island located on the Tigris River south of Mosul, according to U.S. Army Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), based in Baghdad.
As reported by Military.com, Coggins III explained that the U.S.-led international coalition targeted ISIS militants on the island, located in the Salah ad Din Province along the Tigris river, to “deny safe haven” for the group, officials said in the release.
“Here’s what it looks like when @USAFCENT #F15 and #F35 jets drop 36,000 Kg of bombs on a Daesh infested island,” he wrote on Twitter, using a term for ISIS preferred by the military.
Photos corresponding with the announcement show pilots readying for the mission; the video shows dozens of locations struck with bombs.
“We’re setting the conditions for our partner forces to continue bringing stability to the region,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Eric Hill, commander of Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
The goal was to “disrupt [ISIS’] ability to hide in the thick vegetation,” the release states.
Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service forces “continue to conduct ground clearance operations to destroy any remaining [ISIS fighters] on the island,” officials said.
Noteworthy the latest strike signals that the air war against ISIS isn’t over despite lower strike numbers in Iraq and Syria in recent months.
However, while the F-15E Strike Eagle has been conducting operations against the Islamic State since the air campaign began in 2014, the Air Force’s version of the Lightning II stealth fighter made its combat debut in Iraq in April, when two USAF F-35A aircraft deployed from Hill Air Force Base (AFB) conducted an air strike at Wadi Ashai, Iraq, in support of Combined Joint Task Force – OIR on Apr. 30, 2019.
The F-35As conducted the airstrike using a Joint Direct Attack Munition to strike an entrenched Daesh tunnel network and weapons cache deep in the Hamrin Mountains, a location able to threaten friendly forces.
“We have the ability to gather, fuse and pass so much information, that we make every friendly aircraft more survivable and lethal,” said Lt. Col. Yosef Morris, 4th Fighter Squadron commander and F-35A pilot. “That, combined with low-observable technology, allows us to really complement any combined force package and be ready to support AOR contingencies.”
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force
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