Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces (CTF) in cooperation with the United States Air Force conducted a bombing raid on an ISIS-infested island in Iraq on September 10, 2019. F-35A Lightning II and F-15E Strike Eagle jets dropped more than 36,000 kilograms of bombs in a terrain denial operation that sought to destroy natural cover and vegetation aiding the terror group’s tactical movements.
The F-35s took off from their forward-deployed location in al-Dharfa airbase (United Arab Emirates), where they replaced F-22A Raptors for air interdiction and defensive counter-air roles in April.
Qanus island, Salahuddin, the target area, has served as a major transit hub for ISIS fighters and their supplies, as the terror group reverted back to insurgency tactics after losing their stronghold of Baghuz al-Faqwani (Syria) in early 2019. The air raid was executed with a precision-guided munition. It was as much a tactical operation as it was a show of force.
The USAF air strikes augmented a ground clearance operation led by the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces (CTF).
Iraqi commandos are currently conducting Operation “Black Dirt” aimed at combating the terror group’s residual presence in Iraq’s sparsely populated areas.