An island “infested” with ISIS fighters was annihilated by almost 40 tonnes of bombs dropped from US warplanes.
Dramatic aerial footage shows explosions as bombs hit Qanus Island followed by huge mushroom clouds billowing into the air over the Tigris River in Iraq.
The island had become a “safe haven” and “major transit hub” for the terrorists, who hid within thick vegetation, as they moved into Iraq from neighbouring Syria, the US-led coalition said.
But the hideout was obliterated and an unknown number of jihadists were killed as US Air Force F-15 Strike Eagle and F-35A Lightning II aircraft, alongside Iraqi warplanes, launched airstrikes this week.
Bombs were dropped on Qanus – located near the US military base in Qayyarah – amid a series of ground attacks by Iraqi troops.
The US-led coalition said the island, north of Baghdad, was a hideout for terrorists moving from Syria and the Jazeera desert into Mosul, Makhmour, and the Kirkuk region of Iraq.
Major General Eric T Hill, a commander with Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-led anti-ISIS campaign, said: “We’re denying Daesh the ability to hide on Qanus Island.
“We’re setting the conditions for our partner forces to continue bringing stability to the region.”
A spokesperson for the coalition added: “Coalition Forces used 80,000 pounds of munitions on the island to disrupt Daesh the ability to hide in the thick vegetation.
“CTS Forces continue to conduct ground clearance operations to destroy any remaining Fallul Daesh on the island.”
US-backed forces have driven ISIS out of its strongholds in Iraq and Syria following months-long offensives.
The terror group has become so desperate to kill its enemies or innocent civilians that it has been strapping suicide vests to cows.
Many of its fighters have ended up dead or captured, and thousands of jihadi brides and children – including some who left Britain to join the terror group in the Middle East – are stuck in refugee camps.
But US and Iraqi officials told the New York Timeslast month that ISIS was gathering new strength, carrying out guerrilla attacks and trying to recruit people at the notorious Al Hol camp in north-east Syria.
The camp was home to British ISIS bride Shamima Begum – who has been stripped of her UK citizenship – before she was moved to a different one, reports mirror.co.uk.
The report said ISIS still had as many as 18,000 remaining fighters in Iraq and Syria, and a hidden war chest of as much as $400million (£325million).
Donald Trump has announced plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Syria despite concerns that it would mean less support for local troops or militia fighting terrorism.
General Mazloum Kobani Abdi, commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US ally, in the fight against ISIS, warned that the terror group was resurging in Syria after the US president’s announcement.
In an interview with CNN he asked for increased US support for his troops to stop ISIS from re-establishing itself.
On Tuesday – the eve of the September 11 terror attacks – the US announced sanctions on “terrorists and their supporters”, including the Islamic State.