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.”
While the Islamic State — also identified as Daesh, ISIS or ISIL — has lost of its foothold in Iraq and Syria over the past few years of fighting, the U.N. counterterrorism officials warned last month that the militant group is still a global threat with up to $300 million in its coffers. They said the group has influence through a network of affiliates from West Africa to Southeast Asia.
“It capitalizes on its affiliates and inspired attacks and has an estimated residual wealth of up to $300 million at its disposal,” said Vladimir Voronkov, undersecretary-general for the U.N. Office of Counter-Terrorism.
Voronkov said the Islamic State’s defeat in Syria “was not a fatal blow” and the group “continues to evolve into a covert network.”
Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III shared a video of the strikes on Twitter.