At the request of the government of Iraq, U.S. military aircraft attacked terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant yesterday in support of Iraqi security forces and Sunni tribes protecting the Haditha and Mosul dams, according to a news release from U.S. Central Command.
A mix of fighter and bomber aircraft conducted four airstrikes near Haditha. In total, the strikes destroyed five ISIL Humvees, one ISIL armed vehicle, an ISIL checkpoint and also damaged an ISIL bunker. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.
“We conducted these strikes to prevent terrorists from further threatening the security of the dam, which remains under control of Iraqi Security Forces, with support from Sunni tribes,” Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today.
Additionally, an attack aircraft conducted one airstrike against ISIL near Mosul Dam in support of Iraqi security forces protecting the dam. The strike damaged an ISIL Humvee and the aircraft exited the strike area safely.
The strikes were conducted under authority to protect U.S. personnel and facilities, support humanitarian efforts, and support Iraqi forces that are acting in furtherance of these objectives.
“We will continue to conduct operations as needed in support of the Iraqi security forces and the Sunni tribes, working with those forces securing Haditha Dam,” the press secretary said.
Corralling water from the Euphrates River, the Haditha Dam provides electricity and fresh water for millions of Iraqi citizens and farms. It is second only to the Mosul Dam in hydroelectric production for Iraq.
“The potential loss of control of the dam or a catastrophic failure of the dam — and the flooding that might result — would have threatened U.S. personnel and facilities in and around Baghdad, as well as thousands of Iraqi citizens,” Kirby said.
U.S. Central Command has conducted a total of 138 airstrikes across Iraq since operations began Aug. 8.