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U.S. Fighters Strike ISIS Near Mosul Dam

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F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to the Tomcatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on July 31, 2014. US Navy Photo

F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to the Tomcatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on July 31, 2014. US Navy Photo

U.S. airstrikes have helped paved the way for Iraqi Kurdish forces to retake a critical dam in Northern Iraq according to the Pentagon. Over the past three days, U.S. forces have conducted 35 airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL) terrorists around the Mosul Dam complex.

“In all, we destroyed over 90 targets including a range of vehicles, equipment, and fighting positions,” said Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby in statement. “Iraqi forces have cleared the dam and are working to further expand their area of control.”


View Mosul Dam Complex in a larger map

U.S. air assets included strike fighters, bombers and unmanned aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and the Navy.

U.S. forces had to act fast to help Iraqi forces retake the dam because there were indications that the fanatical ISIS fighters were not maintaining the increasingly aged structure. Further, there was a real possibility that the ISIS terrorist might have destroyed the dam, which might have caused extensive flooding.

While the U.S. airstrikes have temporarily blunted the ISIS offensive, it is not clear if the air campaign will have much long-term impact against the terrorists without further American involvement.

The U.S. Navy began flying strike missions from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) earlier this month. U.K. and the U.S. Air Force have also flown missions against ISIS.