Qanus Island, a small plot of land in Iraq’s Salah ad Din Province, used to be a “safe haven” for ISIS/Daesh terrorists, members of Operation Inherent Resolve announced in a press release. But thanks to an air strike Tuesday reportedly led by Maj. Gen. Eric T. Hill, this isn’t the case anymore.
“Coalition Forces used 80,000 pounds of munitions on the island to disrupt Daesh the ability to hide in the thick vegetation,” the presser reads. “CTS Forces continue to conduct ground clearance operations to destroy any remaining Fallul Daesh on the island.”
Watch the destruction and devastation below:
(Source: OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III)
“We’re denying Daesh the ability to hide on Qanus Island,” Hill said in a statement. “We’re setting the conditions for our partner forces to continue bringing stability to the region.”
According to OIR, Qanus Island had specifically been “a major transit hub for Daesh members moving from Syria and the Jazeera desert into Mosul, Makhmour, and the Kirkuk region.”
“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 the Americans left,” Stars and Stripes notes.
“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.”
The military newspaper further notes that though the Islamic State doesn’t command any territory in Iraq anymore, it continues “to carry out targeted killings and arson of crops.”
Moreover, a report released last month by the Department of Defense’s lead inspector general warned that ISIS is seeking to regain power in Iraq.
“Despite the loss of physical territory, thousands of ISIS fighters remain in Iraq and Syria and are carrying out attacks and working to rebuild their capabilities,” the report reads.
“ISIS remains a threat in Iraq and Syria. This quarter, ISIS continued its transition from a territory-holding force to an insurgency in Syria, and it intensified its insurgency in Iraq.”
The full report may be seen below:
“What we’ve always said is the caliphate’s been gone and that there’s always risk that there’ll be a resurgence, not just from ISIS,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a CBS News interview at the time. “There’s risk from al Qaeda, other radical Islamic terrorist groups.”
What’s unclear is whether the strike Tuesday also led to any dead militants or jihadis — or whether it was what’s known as a “terrain denial operation,” which according to The Drive is designed to “simply blast away vegetation and other natural cover that might have offered concealment for ISIS, also known as Daesh, and their supply caches.”
“The island is believed to be a major transit hub and safe haven for Daesh,” OIR’s office said to The Drive in a statement. “Currently the investigation is still ongoing so we cannot disclose the number of militants on the Island at the time of the operation.”
What’s also not known is what planes were used and what munitions they employed.
“Official pictures that accompanied the press release did show F-35As and F-15Es, both of which are presently forward deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, taking part in the operation,” The Drive confirmed.
“There are also presently Air Force B-52H bombers deployed to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which would have been well suited to this mission, but there is no indication that they participated.”
One of the F-35As may be seen below:
It’s believed the aircraft were carrying at least five 2,000-pound class GBU-31/B Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) GPS-guided bombs.
Built by Boeing, the JDAM is by itself a “guidance kit” that converts otherwise “dumb” bombs into “smart” weapons that can strike a target based on GPS coordinates.
“Once released from the aircraft, the JDAM autonomously navigates to the designated target coordinates,” Military.com notes. “Target coordinates can be loaded into the aircraft before takeoff, manually altered by the aircrew before weapon release, or automatically entered through target designation with onboard aircraft sensors.”
Below is an Air Force photo of laser-guided JDAM bombs being fitted to an F-35A:
The Drive estimates that it would have taken at leas 40 JDAMs to account for the 80,000 pounds of munitions that were reportedly dropped on the island.
Regardless of the precise details, Americans and Iraqis alike appear to be reacting positively to this successful attack against their shared enemy.
Job well done 👍🇺🇸
— Christina (@mamacubs1) September 10, 2019
Job well done,
Daesh is a threat not only to Iraq & the region only, it is a threat to the whole world.
Thanks for working with Iraqis to bring peacd and stability.
We are looking forward to see all threats to the region’s pease have been eliminated.
— ظافر الشمري | ماجستير الأمن القومي ومكافحة الأرهاب (@MPICT_CHIMC) September 10, 2019
Thanks to the USAF for keeping the roaches in check and also congrats on a successful F-35 field deployment!!! Much love!!!
— Vinnie (@vinycard) September 10, 2019
Light their asses up! Love our military!
— Survivor426 (@trisha_wirth) September 10, 2019
Well done!!! Precision bombing is so damned impressive 👍👍
— Gordon L. (@CanyonGlider) September 10, 2019
— ¡VIVA DYNAMITE! (@Tietjen41) September 10, 2019
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