Date
23 November 2017
Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobane following an air strike by US-led coalition forces against Islamic State fighters last October. Photo: AFP
Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Kobane following an air strike by US-led coalition forces against Islamic State fighters last October. Photo: AFP

US$1.8 bln spent on US air strikes against Islamic State

The US military has flown 2,320 air strikes against Islamic State militants since Aug. 8 at a cost of US$1.83 billion, according to the Pentagon.

The strikes by US forces amounted to about 80 percent of the total number carried out by a multinational coalition.

In all, the partners have flown 2,893 air strikes, with 1,631 in Iraq and 1,262 in Syria, hitting 5,314 targets.

The strikes hit thousands of targets including tanks, oil infrastructure and fighting positions, Reuters reported.

More than 60 countries have joined the coalition against Islamic State. The United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom conduct air strikes in Iraq. The US, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates carry them out in Syria.

Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren said US and Iraqi forces had also dropped propaganda leaflets on the city of Mosul to undermine support for Islamic State and its recruiting efforts.

Coalition strikes have hit 73 tanks, some of them US-made Iraqi M1A1 Abrams tanks seized when Islamic State militants overran northwestern parts Iraq last year. They also destroyed 282 Humvee vehicles that had been taken from Iraqi forces.

The strikes targeted 408 Islamic State staging areas, 1,003 fighting positions and 87 oil collection points.

An air strike can involve multiple weapons against multiple targets.

The tally covered air strikes conducted between Aug. 8, 2014 and March 18, 2015. 

As of March 12, the Pentagon had spent about US$1.83 billion on the strikes, an average of about US$8.5 million daily, Warren said.

As a result of the strikes oil sales are no longer the primary source of revenue for Islamic State.

Warren confirmed that around March 16 coalition forces had destroyed a drone operated by a militant near the Iraqi city of Fallujah. US forces believed the device was essentially a model aircraft that would have been commercially available to anyone.

“The drone was not shot down. We observed it flying for approximately 20 minutes. We observed it land. We observed the enemy place the drone in the trunk of a car and we struck the car, destroying both the vehicle and the model airplane in the trunk,” he said.

It was unclear for what purpose the militants used the drone, the report said.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

CG

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